Nightlife sector to reopen in Catalonia on February 11

Covid passports not required as clubs to reopen for first time since December 24

People dancing at Shôko in Barcelona on the first night that clubs reopened, October 8, 2021 (by Marta Casado Pla)
People dancing at Shôko in Barcelona on the first night that clubs reopened, October 8, 2021 (by Marta Casado Pla) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 2, 2022 12:13 PM

The Catalan government has lifted one of the last restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. On February 11, the nightlife sector will be allowed to reopen in Catalonia, government spokesperson Patricia Plaja announced on Tuesday.

Clubs, bars, and late night businesses will be allowed to open without any restrictive measures in place. There will be no requirement to show proof of vaccination, with the government justifying the lifting of that measure as it is in line with the changes made on Friday, 28 January for other establishments.

The nightlife sector has been closed in Catalonia since December 24, ahead of the Christmas holidays. Since then, Covid-19 cases increased up to an all-time high but are now declining, according to the daily figures released by the health department.

"Covid-19 figures are still high, but the outbreak risk is decreasing as well as the transmission rate," Plaja said during the press conference following Tuesday’s meeting of the Catalan cabinet.

Overall, since the start of the pandemic, the nightlife sector has been closed for over 600 days, 20 out of the 23 last months. But now, after the government news, owners of these establishments believe that cases will not increase as social interaction also happens somewhere else.

"We hope this is the last time we have to close," Ramon Mas, secretary-general at Barcelona’s nightclubs association, told the Catana News Agency (ACN).

Clubs will be allowed to open without any time restriction, so some will open up to 6am as they used to do. Face masks are still required indoors, but the sector warns of the difficulty to make sure everyone follows through, so owners will "recommend the use of face masks," Mas said.

One of the last measures in place

After the 1am to 6am curfew was lifted on January 21, some businesses and political voices, such as Barcelona deputy mayor Jaume Collboni, questioned why the nightlife sector was still closed

The government’s reason for reopening the sector on February 11 is to give time to companies to prepare. Also, epidemiological data suggests that "in the next ten days we will be at the optimal moment that will justify the reopening," Plaja explained. 

Face masks, still mandatory outdoors

The use of face masks outdoors is still mandatory for people aged 6 and older when distances cannot be kept. The restriction remains in place with no expiration date yet. 

However, the Spanish Congress has to vote on the extension of the measure on Tuesday afternoon.  

New variants unlikely to alter plans

Health Minister Josep Maria Argimon believes the new Omicron subvariant will not alter plans to change pandemic management in the spring if the cases are mild. 

In an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), he argues that managing the pandemic as it has been done until now is “not sustainable" for primary care nor good from a public health standpoint. 

"We also run the risk of leaving many things behind that are as important or more important, such as recovering from diagnoses. We need to change our strategy, the virus has changed," he said. 

Argimon previously announced that health authorities intend to stop counting all Covid-19 cases from April if most of them are mild.