The president of the Government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, has presented a strategic lockdown exit plan for the “gradual and progressive” lifting of restrictive measures and the transition to a “new normal”. Approved by the Executive Council on Saturday, the plan is designed to avoid putting the health system at risk and to protect the public. According to the head of the executive, the plan represents “the shared vision needed to lead in this crisis”. Based on a report produced by Dr Oriol Mitjà and his team of experts together with the Ministries of Health and Home Affairs, it “ensures coordination between all Catalan ministries and the collaboration of local actors, provincial councils and municipal entities” in the process of making decisions to combat the coronavirus.
The head of the government said he had sent the plan to Prime Minister Sánchez and that in the meeting of the Conference of Presidents scheduled for Sunday he would request that competencies for managing the epidemic be returned to Catalonia. According to the president, the Spanish government’s centralised management of the crisis has proven ineffective. President Torra said: “This can’t be decided 600 kilometres away without taking into account Catalonia’s specific characteristics. […] The best decisions are always taken close to the citizens they affect and with the best possible understanding of and adaptation to local factors and circumstances.”
The president said the proposal to restore Catalonia’s competencies sets out three options: 1) the lifting of the state of alarm, which would allow the Catalan government to make the right decisions to protect its citizens and proceed with the progressive lifting of the lockdown when the time is right; 2) maintaining the state of alarm, but only in the autonomous communities that opt to remain in this situation; or 3) modifying the state of alarm so that the competent authority in Catalonia is the Government of the Generalitat.
The president called on all opposition groups to back the proposal to reinstate Catalonia’s competencies for managing the lockdown exit process. “We need to be able to make the lives and health of our citizens the top priority in decision-making.”
Time bands for children to go outdoors
In reference to the Spanish government’s decision to allow children to leave their homes starting on Sunday, the President lamented that the risk involved is not being given sufficient consideration and called on parents and children to make the “sacrifice” of respecting the time bands for children in different age groups stipulated by the Catalan government. “Everyone’s health will depend on how we manage our mobility and our decisions,” the president said. “We’re in a situation of risk and alert. We can’t afford to let down our guard.”
Details of the plan
According to the president, the lockdown exit plan approved by the Executive Council calls for the progressive lifting of restrictions according to the epidemiological conditions. Even after restrictions are eased, it is anticipated that they may need to be tightened again depending on how the epidemic evolves.
With respect to the community dimension, the lockdown exit plan envisages five stages. After healthy individuals whose jobs are classified as non-essential have returned to work, the second stage is the partial and controlled lifting of restrictions in specific sectors, with special attention to minors and over-65s.
The third stage is the progressive reopening of non-essential shops, followed by events with a limited capacity (under 30 people) and the opening of cafés, bars and restaurants, which will require special, tailored measures. The fourth stage will see the reopening of schools and cultural and sports facilities for individual use; and in the fifth stage, social, cultural, sports and musical events for more than 30 people will be allowed, but this will only be possible when the risk is very low.