County-level lockdown sees Barcelona residents flock to the hills
Costa Brava coastal areas were emptied of visitors, while the poor weather conditions made sunbathing impossible
The first weekend after the county-level lockdown was reintroduced in Catalonia was met with drab, grey skies that left residents of Barcelona with the obvious choice of practising sports in the mountains as opposed to sunbathing on the beach.
Typically during the weekends of county-level confinement, residents of the Catalan capital would flock to the sandy beaches of Barceloneta or the spacious hills and fresh air of the Collserola natural park. For the last month, people have been able to travel slightly further afield, but a stricter confinement came back into force on April 9.
On Sunday morning, many Barcelona residents took to the trail of Carretera de les Aigües in the hills of Collserola park, where many cyclists and joggers were spotted, but also others who chose to stroll and enjoy the views of the Catalan capital. The nearby car parks were filled from early in the morning.
Cyclists were the largest group of people to pass through this scenic route, followed by walkers, either individually, with the dog, or in small groups. There were many who stopped to take snapshots of the city, take selfies, and ask someone to take a picture of them.
However, there were no images of massive crowding of the areas, as seen after the home confinement was lifted in the spring of 2020, although at some points where several roads joined there was a high concentration of people, which forced them to stop and give way to others passing.
After the severe confinement of the first wave of the pandemic, this space, normally frequented by athletes and residents of the nearby neighbourhoods where it passes, became a haven for residents of the city who chose to enjoy the natural environment when it was prohibited to leave the urban area.
Empty Costa Brava
The hospitality industry on the Costa Brava has been dealt a “hard blow” with the county-level lockdown returning, according to the manager of the Costa Brava Center Group, Judit Lloberol.
Areas on the northern coast were largely empty compared to previous weekends when people were allowed to travel freely throughout Catalonia.
Lloberol laments the decision from the government, coming after a “very good Easter” in the area, and she says that many hotels that were open a week ago have had to close.
Barbara Halle, owner of the Sant Roc hotel in Calella de Palafrugell, points out that she had 40% of reservations cancelled due to the change in restrictions. “That creates a lot of uncertainty for us,” she says.
Mass cancellations on Golden Coast
Campsites on the southern Golden Coast and the area around the Ebre Delta saw almost all reservations called off.
According to tourism industry associations, there was an expected occupancy of between 40-50%, but with the new mobility restrictions, the reality was around 5% in establishments that remained open after Easter.
Tourist accommodation too was severely affected by cancellations with merchants in Tarragona and Reus seeing huge drops in sales.
All areas of the sector call on the country's civil protection body Procicat to reconsider the lockdown measure.