Guide to what you should, must and can't do after latest Covid-19 outbreaks
New measures are applicable to 3.04 million people, including Barcelona's metropolitan area, part of the Lleida region and two towns in the north-east of Catalonia
The measures brought in to control the pandemic when the state of alarm came to an end last month still apply in all of Catalonia, including a restriction on holding large events and the prohibition of dancing in nightclubs. The obligation to wear face masks in public everywhere, approved on July 8, are also in effect.
Yet, the new Covid-19 outbreaks affecting the Barcelona metropolitan area, the Segrià and Noguera counties, and the towns of Figueres and Vilafant in the northeast, have led the Catalan government to take several extra measures to prevent the disease spreading more widely again.
Since the state of alarm is no longer in operation in Spain, and the Catalan executive has no powers to apply certain restrictions on its own, several local courts have had their say on the measures – they have mostly greenlighted Quim Torra's cabinet's plans, but not in all cases.
Since there has been a bit of confusion on what the new rules are and where they are applicable, here's a guide with the very basics as of July 18 at 9am, and in effect for the following two weeks, until August 1:
Where it applies
The measures apply to 3.04 million people in Catalonia, which means 40% of the country's inhabitants.
- Barcelona's metropolitan area (2.76 million people): Barcelona, l'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Montcada i Reixac, Viladecans, el Prat de Llobregat, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Sant Joan Despí, Cornellà, Sant Just Desvern, Esplugues de Llobregat, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sant Adrià del Besòs and Badalona. Also in Sant Feliu de Llobregat, where the measure came into effect on July 20 and will be in effect until August 3.
- Alt Empordà county (52,000 people): Figueres and Vilafant. Here the measure came into effect on July 20 and will be in effect until August 3.
- Segrià county (203,000 people): els Alamús, Albatàrrec, Alcanó, Alcoletge, Alfarràs, Alfés, Alguaire, Almacelles, Almatret, Almenar, Alpicat, Aspa, Corbins, Llardecans, Maials, Montoliu de Lleida, la Portella, Puigverd de Lleida, Rosselló, Sudanell, Sunyer, Torrebesses, Torrefarrera, Torre-serona, Vilanova del Segrià, Vilanova de la Barca, Sucs and Raimat. Also, in Lleida, Aitona, Alcarràs, la Granja d’Escarp, Seròs, Soses and Torres de Segre, where tighter restrictions apply as well.
- Noguera county (31,000 people): Àger, Albesa, Algerri, Alòs de Balaguer, les Avellanes i Santa Linya, Balaguer, la Baronia de Rialb, Bellcaire d'Urgell, Bellmunt d'Urgell, Camarasa, Castelló de Farfanya, Cubells, Foradada, Ivars de Noguera, Menàrguens, Montgai, Os de Balaguer, Penelles, Preixens, la Sentiu de Sió, Tiurana, Torrelameu, Térmens and Vallfogona de Balaguer.
Generally speaking, the public in these areas is advised to stay at home.
It is recommended that people only leave the house for the following reasons: to work, for health and care reasons, to buy essential food and drink, to go to the bank, for other purchases by appointment, to do sport outdoors, to look after allotments and for force majeure, as well as procedures that cannot be postponed, like exams, renewing ID and permits.
Meetings of over 10 people in both private and public are prohibited, except for work or on public transport.
Any kind of shows in public, and cultural, sport, leisure, and nightlife activities were originally banned in the regions affected – that includes concerts, festivals, cinemas, theaters, gyms, sports centers, indoor swimming pools and nightclubs.
Yet, on July 20, the civil authorities partly U-turned after the outrage of the culture sector and gave the go-ahead to festivals and cultural venues. Nightlife activities, however, are still forced to close.
Local governments can ask for exceptions in order to hold cultural and sporting events – the culture sector expressed outrage at original new measures, as have gym owners. The Catalan government says civil protection authorities will make rulings on any local government requests.
Another exception is sports competitions, which are allowed behind closed doors.
Allowed but with restrictions
Bars, terraces and restaurants can open, but with a maximum capacity of 50% and with customers always sitting, not standing in the bar. Also, local governments will have to regulate the times of bars, restaurants and terraces to avoid late-night eating and drinking.
A midnight curfew is in place for restaurants and bars.
Hotels and tourist apartments are also allowed to operate, but with 50% capacity in communal areas.
In the towns affected by the measures in la Noguera and Segrià, shops can only open at 50% of their capacity, but this limitation does not apply to the affected areas in Barcelona and Alt Empordà.
Cultural, social and educational venues are allowed to open to look after the people affected by the heat, as long as civil protection authorities allow such use beforehand – outdoor swimming pools are also permitted to operate if local authorities think "their preventive use is needed to manage the effects of heat on the population."
Businesses like hairdressers and physiotherapists are only permitted to perform duties that require contact if essential, or in an emergency or critical situation, including for hygiene reasons, and especially to attend people with disability.
Driving lessons are given the go-ahead as long as the vehicle is ventilated for at least 10 minutes between students.
Beaches, street markets, libraries, museums, and children's summer camps are allowed as long as they comply with the general safety measures to be followed by all public activities.
Lleida area, ban on going in and out
On Sunday, July 19 the lockdown in Segrià ended after two weeks, but tight restrictions are still in operation in parts of this county, including its capital.
In the area comprising Lleida, Aitona, Alcarràs, la Granja d’Escarp, Seròs, Soses and Torres de Segre, the ban on going in or out remains from July 15 for two weeks.
Exceptions include work, cargo, force majeure, exams, health and accessing public transport.
Entering or leaving each of these seven towns is only allowed to work, for health and care reasons, to buy essential food and drink, to go to the bank, for other purchases by appointment, to do sport outdoors, to look after allotments and for force majeure, as well as procedures that cannot be postponed, like exams, renewing ID and permits.
The rest of the restrictions are similar to the rest of the areas with outbreaks, but for bars and restaurants, which have to remain closed except for takeaway or appointment.