Reopening of nightclubs halted due to Covid-19 outbreak risk increase
Health department reacts as iEPG reaches early April levels after skyrocketing 70 points in one week
The reopening of nightclubs in Catalonia will have to wait. A sudden worsening of the pandemic situation in the country has resulted in the authorities halting the measure already announced just before it was expected to be published by the official gazette (DOGC).
On Wednesday evening, the Catalan health department decided to freeze the permission for such venues to open until 3am with some restrictions.
The reason is the skyrocketing of the Covid-19 outbreak risk, soaring to 234 points in the iEPG index – far above the 'high risk' threshold, which is 100, as well as the 'very high' threshold at 200.
The figure has increased by 70 points in only a week – the outbreak risk has been oscillating roughly from 150 to 200 points for almost three months, but it is now in its highest level in the second wave, reaching levels of early April, when the pandemic was at its peak.
On Wednesday, another 1,477 positive PCR tests were confirmed, totalling 175,596 since the start of the pandemic.
Over the last week, 9,160 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed — the highest weekly increase of the second wave.
The transmission rate is also in an upwards trend, and now 1.21 people on average get Covid-19 per person testing positive – the authorities' goal is to keep this figure under 1.
Reopening of nightclubs
Authorities were thought to give the green light for nightclubs in Catalonia to reopen as long as dancefloors remain closed, according to a statement released by nightlife industry body, Fecasarm, following a meeting with the Catalan government on Tuesday.
Clubs were expected to be able to open until 3am, with capacity limited to 50%, and customers required to wear a mask when they are not drinking. In addition, venues were obliged to keep a record of attendees and make sure hand gel is widely available.
Various musical activities had to benefit from the changes, including venues with disco licenses, music bars, youth discos and karaoke rooms.
Yet, the government has U-turned and the nightlife sector will have to wait.