In response to the continued rise of COVID-19 cases across the country, the Spanish Government has decreed that nightclubs and late night bars will be closed and that other bars and restaurants will have to close at 1.00am and not allow new customers to enter from midnight onwards. In a press conference this lunchtime, Health Minister Salvador Illa said that there has been a growing number of outbreaks in recent weeks and that, for the first time, the Government was adopting coordinated actions in terms of public health, measures that had been adopted unanimously.
The health minister held an emergency meeting with health officials from all of Spain’s autonomous regions which have been in charge of COVID-19 measures since the state of alarm was lifted in June. Latest figures suggest that the situation is worsening with a total of 2,953 new infections detected in the last 24 hours to Thursday, a figure not seen since April. Although the overall situation is not comparable to April and that the majority of cases being detected were mostly mild, central government decided that it needed to act to try and stop the spread of the infection as soon as possible.
In addition to the closure of nightclubs and late night bars, drinking in the street, known as the ‘botellón’, will attract hefty fines and Illa reminded the young people that they should be in no doubt that the practice is prohibited and they are not allowed to continue to do so. Social contact should be limited as much as possible and the maximum number of people who can meet up should be no more than 10. He added that citizens should now avoid meeting up with those with whom they don’t live.
The health minister also announced that there would be a blanket ban on smoking in the street if a two-metre distance cannot be maintained. Galicia and the Canary Islands had already introduced this measure and it was expected that several other autonomous communities would follow suit. Central government has now made that decision for them.
Finally, all new residents entering care homes would be subject to PCR tests and that staff returning from holidays would also be required to undergo testing. Visits to care homes will be limited to one person per resident.
More information forthcoming …