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CATALONIA TO ADOPT STRICTER COVID MEASURES: BARCELONA AND ALL OTHER MUNICIPALITIES TO HAVE BORDERS LOCKED DOWN

As everyone has learned this week, the Spanish government announced a new state of emergency in order to combat the growing number of coronavirus cases countrywide. Well, those of us living in Barcelona, or anywhere else in Catalonia, are in for some even stricter measures.

Catalonia has decreed the closing of its borders today. The regional perimeter confinement will be in effect over the course of a 15-day period, starting tonight, October 29th, at midnight. Additionally, the Generalitat has announced the confinement of its municipalities during the same two-week period but only on the weekends. The idea is to discourage travel within, and out of, the region, especially with All Saints’ Day holiday weekend arriving tomorrow. The announcement was made by the Catalan government at 2:20 p.m. today.

Perimeter confinement is the alternative measure that Catalonia, along with other regions around Spain, is choosing to adopt since the central government’s State of Emergency Decree does not allow for its autonomous regions to declare a home confinement. The weekend municipal perimeter confinements will start at 6:00 a.m. on Friday and end at 6:00 a.m. on Monday.

Exceptions will be afforded for trips that must be made to go to work, school, the hospital or care for vulnerable people. In addition, mobility is permitted if you are: returning to your place of usual residence, visiting financial or insurance entities, requested to do so by public or judicial bodies, renewing official documents, taking exams or in the case of an extraordinary event or circumstance. If you need to move around for any of these reasons, make sure you have a “certificat d’autoresponsabilitat” with you. These exceptions apply to both the regional and municipal confinements.

The Catalan government has also suspended all cultural, sports (including training) and extracurricular activities for the following 15 days. Extracurricular activities that take place in bubble groups within schools will be allowed to continue. The governing body has also ordered the closure of gyms and sports centers.

With regard to the suspended cultural activities, these include offerings at cinemas, theaters, and auditoriums. However, archives, museums, exhibition halls, art galleries and creation and visual arts centers may remain open, limiting their capacity to 33%. Libraries will continue to operate solely for the collection and delivery of loaned books.

In relation to sports activities, only professional sports activities will be allowed, which includes all trainings and competitions; these will be closed to the public, however. Individual outdoor exercise, such as running, is permitted.

All shops with a surface area bigger than 800 square meters will be closed with the exception of those that offer goods and services related to alimentation and essential services; these include: retailers of hygiene products, basic necessities, pharmacies, orthopedics, opticians, veterinary centers, car dealerships, and garden centers. Shops with an area of 800 square meters or less may remain open at 30% capacity. Hairdressers may open but can only offer services related to hair hygiene.

Bars and restaurants will remain closed, though the option of home delivery will be extended until 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. Restaurants at hotels and tourist accommodations are excluded, but they may only serve their guests. Catering services integrated into health centers, as well as school cafeterias, are also excluded.

The opening of parks for private children’s recreational activities in closed spaces is also prohibited.

Religious events and civil ceremonies, including weddings, religious services and funeral ceremonies, must limit attendance to 30% of the capacity.

On top of these added measures and restrictions, the Catalan government recommends that baccalaureate and professional formation classes be taught virtually; any classes that cannot be carried out online may be carried out in person. In-person classes may continue in primary schools, although a hybrid model could be used for the 3rd and 4th of ESO. Universities will continue with virtual classes. The same goes for work: if you can work from home, you are strongly encouraged to do so.

These new measures will be reviewed on November 9th, when the 15-day period comes to a close, and, depending on how the pandemic has evolved, they could be either strengthened or relaxed.

Any measures not mentioned here fall in line with those outlined by the Spanish government on Sunday.

*Post updated at 11:12 a.m. on October, 30th, 2020.

By EMILY BENSON

Photo by ISABEL TROYA

Information gathered from:

El Periódico

La Vanguardia

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