The nighttime curfew and the regional perimeter lockdown will cease to be in force next Saturday, May 8th at 12 o'clock at night. This has been announced by the Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economy and Finance, Pere Aragonès, and the spokesperson of the Government and Minister of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, who appeared jointly at the press conference following the meeting of the Executive Council.
The vice-president explained that "as of this Sunday, May 9, the nighttime curfew will be lifted and mobility in and out of Catalonia will be recovered". Aragonés framed the decision in the analysis of the epidemiological data and the good pace of vaccination, which "allows us to progressively relax the restrictions", he stressed.
However, immediately afterwards, he called for "continuing to fight collectively against covid-19 and maintaining maximum responsibility" and warned that, if the situation worsens, new measures cannot be ruled out. "We are beginning to leave behind the legal exceptionality of the state of alarm, but we still cannot leave behind the health exceptionality of the pandemic," he reiterated.
During his speech, the Vice President assured that "the Government now has the legal tools to manage the epidemiological situation" and recalled that, last July, the Executive already approved a Decree Law that allowed measures to be taken in this regard. "As of today, Catalonia already has all the necessary legal coverage," he said. Even so, he indicated that "we continue working to have more tools in case it is necessary”.
Finally, the Vice President thanked the "responsibility shown by citizens during these months, complying with the restrictions" and also had words of recognition for the "commitment" of the Public Health Service of Catalonia, vaccination and science, which "allow us to see what must be the last months of the pandemic and begin to see the beginning of the end," he concluded.
For her part, the Government spokesperson reminded that the fact that "the nighttime curfew is lifted does not mean that other measures in force are lifted" and reminded that meetings are still limited to a maximum of 6 people since "it is during social interaction that the virus spreads more easily, and therefore we must be very careful with the limitation of meetings and especially in enclosed spaces.”
Budó explained that "undoubtedly, these months, we have seen the positive effects of vaccination in controlling this latest wave of the pandemic" but stressed that the "best measure to prevent the spread is the responsibility of each and every one of us". The spokesperson stressed that it has been "thanks to the co-responsibility of everyone that we have been able to make progress in the management of this unprecedented crisis”.
He added that "the lifting of the state of alarm entails a new way of managing the pandemic" but that above all we must not forget that "there is still a lot of work to do, that the virus is still present among us and that we must be able to continue vaccinating to protect the entire population". In the meantime, "it is important to take joint responsibility and respect the measures that are in force because this will be the way to overcome this situation definitively", he reiterated.
Reversing the consequences of Covid-19
During the press conference, the spokesperson also gave an account of the agreements taken today by the Executive Council. To keep fighting the consequences of the Covid-19, this week the Government has reserved 2.5 million euros to a new line of direct aid to companies of attractions and catering services own fairs and festivals, closed by the restrictions. "This new line, which will be activated soon, will be the second to be launched to alleviate the economic effects of the closures decreed by the health emergency, which have had a particular impact on this sector of activity, on which about 5,000 families in Catalonia depend," explained Budó. In the first line, closed at the end of December, direct aids have been granted to 347 beneficiaries, between autonomous and companies of the sector of attractions and services of own restoration of fairs and verbenas, affected by the sanitary measures adopted to face the Covid-19.
As for this year's agricultural campaign, marked again by the Covid-19, the Executive Council has analyzed two documents aimed at strengthening prevention and maximum coordination between municipalities, companies, social agents, and administrations involved. "We are all aware that we must ensure that the fruit harvesting campaign can be carried out with the maximum possible health guarantees, investing efforts to avoid a recurrence of last year's situation," explained Budó. In this sense, he has analyzed, firstly, the Work Plan of the Agricultural Campaign 2021 and, secondly, the document of Recommendations for action against the risk of Coronavirus SARS-Cov2 in agricultural activities and companies. The two reports focus on strengthening the dialogue and coordination with all the administrations concerned, the agri-food sector, and the interdepartmental coordination of the Government.