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Lockdown eased throughout much of Catalonia

Barcelona area enters 'Phase 0.5' as Girona, Lleida, and Central Catalonia move to Phase 1

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18 May 2020 11:19 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Monday brought a number of changes to Catalonia as six of the nine health regions saw their lockdowns eased to varying degrees. 

As such, and in following with the Spanish government's coronavirus lockdown de-escalation plan, the health regions of Girona, Lleida, and Central Catalonia, as well as the Garraf and Alt Penedès counties, entered Phase 1

Meanwhile, Barcelona and its metropolitan area moved to an advanced Phase 0 - a 'Phase 0.5' so to speak - and although it cannot enjoy all the new perks the rest of Catalonia now can, some measures have been somewhat relaxed and it is likely to enter Phase 1 next week

Phase 1: Girona, Lleida, Central Catalonia, Garraf and Alt Penedès 

But what exactly have residents in Phase 1 areas been able to enjoy as of Monday? For one, bar and restaurant terraces can open now, but only at 50% of their usual capacity - that said, many establishments have chosen not to do so altogether, often because they have not yet been able to put in place sufficient safety measures for their staff and clients or because they do not believe it will pay off financially.

Only one central Costa Brava hotel decided to open for business while in Lleida, in western Catalonia, over 50% of the hotels have remained closed.

In Tarragona, which is entering its second week in Phase 1, and could potentially move to Phase 2 on Monday, the archives office is open for visitors, but its famous Roman Tarraco sites remain closed.

Travel is allowed within health regions but police are checking to prevent unwarranted journeys between regions, mounting checks for example between Canet de Mar, part of the Girona health region, and the neighbouring municipality Arenys de Mar, which forms part of Barcelona metropolitan area north.

'Phase 0.5': Barcelona and metropolitan area

The Catalan capital, along with its metropolitan area (apart from, as mentioned, Garraf and Alt Penedès), wasn’t given the go ahead to advance to Phase 1 but did see certain lockdown restrictions eased.

Small stores opened without the need for appointments, and larger stores could open a smaller area of their premises, up to 400m2.

Officially, libraries could open for lending, and museums to 1/3 of capacity, but in both cases the overwhelming majority chose not to.

Mass was celebrated at Barcelona Cathedral for the first time in months on Monday morning, with places of worship now permitted to open to 1/3 capacity.

Bars and restaurant terraces in Barcelona remained closed however, only able to offer takeaway until the city advances to Phase 1. 

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  • Four friends enjoy coffee in a Girona terrace as the city enters Phase 1, May 18, 2020 (Aleix Freixas)

  • Four friends enjoy coffee in a Girona terrace as the city enters Phase 1, May 18, 2020 (Aleix Freixas)

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