Confusion as Catalonia moves to close bars on Friday despite lacking judicial approval
Government says new coronavirus restrictions will be enforced putting on hold issues concerning "fundamental rights"
The Catalan government has pledged that a new package of coronavirus restrictions including the closure of bars and restaurants will come into effect on Thursday at midnight despite lacking judicial approval.
The new restrictions — the most restrictive to be adopted since the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in March — will come into force while putting on hold issues concerning "fundamental rights", a move that Catalan authorities say will serve to move forward while the High Court is still deciding on the matter.
According to Catalan government sources, the three measures that will be temporarily withdrawn and will not come into effect are the prohibition on social gatherings of more than six people, the suspension of in-person classes at universities, and a 50% capacity limit for religious ceremonies.
Toughest clampdown since spring
The Catalan government announced on Wednesday the toughest package of health and mobility restrictions since the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic last March, including the closure of bars and restaurants for two weeks, as well as a 30% capacity limit for stores, and 50% for sports facilities, cultural activities, and religious ceremonies.
"We must act today in order to avoid a total lockdown in the coming weeks," said Pere Aragonès, the vice president of the Catalan government, currently acting as interim president.
Catalan authorities are also ordering the suspension of fairs and conventions, non-professional sports competitions, an 8 pm curfew for parks and public gardens, and the closure of bingo halls and business activities involving physical contact, except for hair salons.