Proposal for Girona, Lleida and central Catalonia to move to Phase 1 but Barcelona staying put

Catalan plan for some health regions to advance to next phase of lockdown de-escalation is subject to Spanish approval

Catalan health minister Alba Vergés, April 26, 2020 (Dept of Health)
Catalan health minister Alba Vergés, April 26, 2020 (Dept of Health) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 13, 2020 02:42 PM

The Catalan government believes the health regions of Girona, Lleida and central Catalonia should advance to Phase 1 of the lockdown de-escalation plan from Monday, 18 May.

The proposal revealed by health minister Alba Vergés on Wednesday afternoon would see Barcelona and the metropolitan area around the Catalan capital remain in Phase 0 for the time being.

"Today and tomorrow we will work on Barcelona and the northern and southern metropolitan areas to be able to put forth a proposal for next week. It will not be for a complete entry into Phase 1, but for progression in terms of lockdown de-escalation," Vergés explained during a midday press conference. It is not clear, however, if this proposal would be for next week or not.

Catalan authorities have not ruled out dividing the metropolitan health regions either, but while Vergés did not elaborate much on this possibility, she made it clear that the situation is fluid and ongoing: "What we say now doesn't mean all health regions should be held in all phases during all periods," adding that the Catalan government's aim is to be "cautious" but not "restrictive."

The Catalan plan is subject to approval from the Spanish authorities, who are expected to announce a decision on Friday. If approved, the Girona, Lleida, and central Catalonia health regions would be joining Tarragona, Ebre and the western Pyrenees, which entered Phase 1 this Monday. 

Phase 1 allows bar terraces to open at 50% capacity, as well as hotels except for communal areas, and clients will be able to visit shops under 400m2 without an appointment. Museums and religious buildings are also permitted to open at 30% of their capacity, as well as libraries, with limited capacity, and gyms, but only by appointment and individually.