The New Rules: What do they mean?

At midnight Sunday, the modified rules come into force across the Comunidad Valenciana and this is our explanation of what they will mean for you.

Monday 24th April 2021 – Compiled by MIKE SMITH

This is an explanation in English of the Official Gazette of the Generalitat Valenciana (DOGV) Number 9068, published on Friday 23rd April 2021, which details the measures that have been modified and take effect from Monday 26th April.

This is for guidance only. For specific reference, please refer to the links provided underneath each section which link to external PDF copies of the specific order provided by the Generalitat Valenciana.

The first document in the DECREE 15/2021 issued by the Presidency of the Generalitat Valenciana which details the measures to limit the gathering of groups of people in public and private spaced as well as limiting movement.

First Article: Social Gatherings

This section deals with the number of people who can meet in certain situations and the rule hasn’t changed from the previous Presidential Decree (12/2021) with respect to public spaces (indoors or outdoors) in which a maximum of six people can meet whilst social gatherings in private homes and spaces (indoors or outdoors) are limited to two “social bubbles” or coexisting groups.

There are exceptions: non-professional child-care and caring for the elderly or those who are dependent on others; children visiting parents who no longer live together; the foster care of children; married people or other partnerships who don’t live together; people who live alone who may join a “social bubble” exclusively i.e, no other single person can join that bubble.

Second Article: Movement

This section deals with the limitations on movement of citizens in the Comunidad Valenciana and the perimetral closure remains in place, in that no-one can enter or exit the region without justified cause, such as work, education, health reasons, or to return to the normal place of residence.

The night curfew also remains in place as before – citizens cannot be on the public highway between 22:00 and 06:00 the following day without justified cause, such as buying medical products and other essential items, travelling to and from work, attending health centres, and to care for children or the elderly. Note that with the changes in opening times of the hospitality sector (see below), travelling home from a bar or restaurant after 22:00 is not a justified cause.

This decree comes into force at 00:00 Monday 26th April and will remain in place until 00:00 Sunday 9th May.


The second document is the RESOLUTION issued by the Ministry of Universal Health and Public Health of the Generalitat Valenciana which details the measures with regards to health and safety protocols in various situations. We have detailed those sections relevant to the wearing of face masks and the new rules with regards to the hospitality sector which, from experience, attract the most queries.

The resolution explains that the COVID-19 situation as of April 22nd 2021 had shown an improvement in the evolution of the health situation in the Comunidad Valenciana, which, at the time of writing, was at Level 1 or “Low Risk” alert.

The national report of April 21st showed that the region’s 14-day IA rate (which measures the effective spread of infection) was at 40.02 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and the 7-day IA rate was at 19.4. In addition, the overall positive percentage of diagnostic tests for acute infection was 4.61%, a low but still indicative risk of transmission.

And, whilst the vaccination campaign has succeeded in immunizing the most vulnerable population as well as health professionals and essential workers, sufficient vaccine coverage has not yet been achieved to ensure widespread protection of the population.

Thus, it has been necessary to maintain non-pharmaceutical precautionary health protocols to reduce the risk of a new epidemic wave as much as possible and this resolution sets out those measures which are currently considered suitable and adequate to the reality of the situation in the Comunidad Valenciana, including some existing measures which have been modified.

The full document is 18 pages long and for specific details on specific areas, please refer to the link given at the bottom of this explanation.

Precautionary Measures, Health and Safety

This resolution deals with the responsibility of citizens to take all the required and necessary measures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 infection, including the need to maintain social distancing of at least 1.5 metres, and the use of face masks on all public roads and outdoor spaces as well as enclosed spaces which are for public use, regardless of whether social distancing can be guaranteed, and on public transport (air, sea, bus or rail) and private transport if the occupants don’t live together.

With regards to obligation, those who have any type of respiratory illness or difficulty that may be aggravated by its use are exempt as well as those whose situation means that they don’t have the autonomy to remove the mask or present behavioural conditions that make its use unfeasible. In addition, those who are exercising individually do not have to wear a mask nor do those who are engaged in a physical effort of a non-sporting nature, outdoors and individually, although they must maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from those who are not cohabitants.

You don’t have to wear a mask in the following situations:

  • Swimming in the sea, a lake, reservoir, river or other bathing area.
  • For water sports in natural or artificial environments.
  • For resting before or after swimming or doing water sports.
  • When providing lifeguard or rescue activities which require access to the water.

In the case of resting on beaches, rivers or other similar environments, and in indoor swimming pools, the rest period specified is relevant only if the person remains in the same place and that a minimum of 1.5 metres can be maintained with others who are not living together. In addition, the maximum number of people who can gather together as detailed in Decree 15/2021 must be respected, i.e. a maximum of six people.

Masks must be worn when walking to and from beaches, lakes and other similar environments, walking along promenades and other such environments, when using changing rooms in public or communal swimming pools (except in the showers), and in both the outdoor and indoor areas of bars and restaurants. With regards to the latter, the resolution clearly states that masks must be worn at all times except at the moment of eating and drinking.

The Hospitality Sector

The following measures apply to all bar and restaurant venues which provide a drink and food service for consumption inside or outside the premises.

The main modification to the rules affecting these venues is that they can now remain open until 22:00 (that is, 10.00pm). There are exceptions (hospitals, hotel restaurants for guests only, etc.) and these are detailed in the link given below.

Home delivery and takeaway services, the latter only by prior appointment to prevent gathering of people, may continue during the usual opening hours of the establishment.

With regards to capacity, these venues can provide 30% of their licensed capacity indoors (providing there is adequate ventilation and air-conditioning in place), and 100% of their licensed capacity on outdoor terraces and these maximum capacities must be displayed. (‘Outdoor terraces’ are any uncovered space or any space, being covered, which is surrounded by a maximum of two walls or awnings.)

Clients must be seated at a table for the consumption of food and drink; gathering at the bar is not permitted. A maximum of six people can occupy a table or group of tables, unless they live together and the minimum distance between tables must be 2 metres inside the venue and 1.5 metres outside on the terrace. Masks must be worn at all times when not eating or drinking.

Performances by professional musicians and DJs are allowed so long as there is sufficient ventilation and a minimum distance of at least 2 metres between musicians and the audience in the case of singers and wind instruments. However, dancing is not permitted, inside or outside, nor is “sporadic or amateur” singing performances.

Smoking is not permitted in these venues, nor is any use of other tobacco inhalation devices (water pipes, hookahs), electronic cigarettes or vaping.

Discos, nightclubs, music bars, pubs, etc. remain closed for their normal purpose, although they may modify their activities so that they provide food and drink service within the restrictions outlined above and can consult with local authorities to modify licenses to have chairs and tables on dance floors, always maintaining necessary health protocols.

The consumption of alcohol is only permitted in bars and restaurants, etc. Consumption on the public highway outside of these venues is not permitted at any time.

Sport

In competitions and sporting events, up to 1,000 athletes may compete in events held in the open air and up to 300 in closed spaces.

For non-professional sports competitions, in both open and closed facilities, spectators may be admitted up to 50% of the licensed capacity, up to a limit of 1,000 people in open facilities and 500 in closed facilities. In the case of stands with fixed seats, at least one seat in the same aisle must be kept unoccupied between spectators who don’t live together, or, if there are no fixed seats, a minimum distance of 1.5 metres must be maintained.

Recreational swimming pools, hotel and spa pools, holiday complex pools, and urbanization communal pools are limited to 75% of their licensed capacity both in terms of access to and the actual use of the facilities. Changing rooms and showers are limited to 50% of their licensed capacity.

These measures come into force at 00:00 Monday 26th April and will remain in place until 23:59 Sunday 9th May.


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