Friday 8th October 2021 – PRESS RELEASE with Mike Smith
The president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, has announced the end of most of the restrictions that have been imposed to fight the spread of COVID-19, whilst also urging the Spanish Government to make a decision on the use of a vaccination certificate through the country to access nightlife venues and festivals.
The president spoke at a press conference after an Interdepartmental Meeting for Prevention & Action Against COVID-19 in which the relaxation of many of the restrictions was agreed and will come into force on Saturday 9th October, remaining in place until further notice.
Puig, who was accompanied by the regional health secretary, Ana Barceló, explained that it was considered that the use of a vaccination certificate would be a “positive instrument to press on towards normality” and he called on the Interterritorial Council to consider that “if we are capable of generating security for citizens, we will move forward”.
In this sense, he expressed his support for sectors such as nightlife and festivals who have proposed, on their own initiative, the implementation of the vaccination certificate or proof of a negative PCR or antigen test to access these venues in order to guarantee “the maximum possible security”.
The president himself remains convinced that the region is reaching “the final station of a historic moment” and considers that on October 9th – the day of the Comunidad Valenciana – “we will begin a new stage” which has been achieved thanks to “efficient management” in the health sector as well as “citizen responsibility”.
However, he added that “common sense, prudence and responsibility” needs to be maintained because the virus has not disappeared, although he stressed that the group protection that has been made possible due to the vaccination campaign means that we can “live with it”.
“From now on, citizens will have the duty of caution and protection to avoid risks of infection as well as the obligation to continue to comply with the isolation and quarantine indications in the case of positive results or close contact with those who return them.
During his speech, the president announced that whilst the “vast majority” of the restrictions are being lifted, the obligation to wear a face mask in closed spaces for public use and in outdoor spaces where the minimum safety distance can’t be maintained remains in place.
Puig said that the recommendation to wear a face mask outdoors, especially in urban environments, also remains whilst it will also not be possible to smoke on the public highway within two metres of other people or on hospitality terraces and outdoor spaces.
The capacity limits which limited the number of people in all establishments and in activities in general, as well as in events and celebrations, have been lifted, unless it is a public event, in which case the capacity is restricted to 2.25 square metres per person.
Music festivals are permitted, although depending on their uniqueness, a specific protocol that will be established in the Ministry of Health will apply.
In the bar and restaurant sector, all previous capacity limited have also been lifted although the maximum number of people allowed per table (or group of tables) remains at ten, and safety distances must be respected when consuming at the bar. As for entertainment venues, their maximum capacity is no longer limited whilst the closing hours will be in accordance with their license.
In cinemas, theatres, auditoriums and museums, the maximum capacity will be 100% except when drink or food is consumed, in which case an empty seat must be left between people. There will be no capacity limitation for physical and sports activity in general, including gymnasiums, swimming pools, and changing rooms.
However, for professional football and basketball leagues, the capacity of 80% in closed spaces and 100% in open spaces is maintained by agreement with the Interterritorial Council.
Post-Pandemic Surveillance Unit
The president also announced the creation of a specific surveillance unit for COVID-19 in the face of a new post-pandemic world. The unit will come under the responsibility of the regional health department and will establish new measures for the early detection, surveillance and control of COVID-19 in all hospitals as well as in different parts of the Comunidad Valenciana.
Puig made an appeal to all those people who haven’t yet come forward to be vaccinated against the virus, asking them for “the same responsibility and solidarity” that has been shown by the rest of the population which has already been immunized.
He pointed out that the death rate per 100,000 inhabitants is 24.57 amongst the unvaccinated population whilst it is as low as 2.27 per 100,000 for those who have received the vaccine, clearly demonstrating that those who have not been jabbed are ten times more likely to die from COVID-19 that those who are protected.
Finally, the president highlighted that the policy of progressive opening that has been followed over the last month has contributed to the positive indicators of the Comunidad Valenciana, which are not only above the Spanish average but also above those of many other countries.
Specifically, in terms of accumulated incidence (IA) rate, the Comunidad Valenciana has gone from 136 cases per 100,000 inhabitants to 39, whilst the number of hospitalizations had been reduced by half, dropping from 321 admissions to 156.
The vaccination of the population has also contributed to this positive data. Currently 90.3% of people in the region who were to be vaccinated have received at least one dose and, in the coming days, 90% will have completed the course. In this sense, the president has shown his gratitude to the vaccination teams and to the whole of society which has made immunization a reality.