The president of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, announced this afternoon that "from this Friday, in Catalonia we will take a giant step on the road to return to maximum normality: we will leave behind most of the restrictions that are still in force and we will enter fully into a stage of recovery of the activities in our country". The head of the Executive, who appeared at a press conference to advance the new measures approved by the Territorial Civil Protection Plan of Catalonia, has warned that although "the pandemic has lost much strength but it is not over" and therefore has called to "continue to be very scrupulous with hygiene and the use of the mask".
The head of the Government has explained in the informative appearance that the resolution agreed today contemplates as main modification "the expansion of capacity to 100% in the vast majority of sectors, and that the schedules will become the usual for any activity". This resolution, explained the president, will be published once it has been validated by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC).
The resolution of the Territorial Civil Protection Plan of Catalonia details that cultural activities, archives, libraries, museums, exhibition halls and art galleries expand their capacity from 70 to 100%.
For cultural activities, the maximum number of spectators is eliminated, which until now was set at 1,000 people in enclosed spaces (or up to a maximum of 3,000 with reinforced ventilation conditions) and 4,000 people in the open air.
In outdoor sports facilities or equipment, the capacity is also increased from 70% to 100%, and in indoor facilities or equipment, the maximum capacity will be 80% in accordance with the declaration of coordinated actions of the Interterritorial Health Council. In this case, the maximum number of spectators is also eliminated, which was 4,000 people outdoors and 1,750 people in enclosed spaces (or 3,500 with reinforced ventilation conditions). The capacity of the assemblies of sports entities will also be increased from 70 to 100%.
In the area of hotels and restaurants, the capacity in indoor spaces will increase from 50% to 100%, and the limitation of tables, currently limited to a maximum of 10 people both indoors and outdoors, will be eliminated. Likewise, the minimum distance of 1.5m between tables outdoors and 2m indoors is also eliminated, and the opening hours will be the same as usual in this sector (up to 2.30 am maximum and 30 minutes added on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays).
Also, the capacity of service and retail companies, universities, civic facilities, congresses and trade fairs, non-sedentary markets, as well as fairs, amusement parks, recreational activities in enclosed spaces, and activities related to gambling, will be extended to 100%.
On the other hand, no modifications are included in relation to the last resolution regarding the nightlife sector, which will be maintained with a maximum capacity of 70% in indoor spaces, and the obligation to wear a mask on the dance floor. Likewise, music festivals and music activities held on foot and indoors will be brought into line with the conditions established for the nightlife sector (Covid certificate requirement, compulsory use of masks on the dance floor and 70% capacity indoors).
The president has assured during his speech that "we have taken the decision to take this step forward towards the return to normality given the epidemiological data of recent days that are very good and following the indications of the Department of Health"; But he has insisted that "we are not yet in a phase of full normality, although we are approaching, and that should allow us to focus many efforts on economic recovery and minimize the emotional impact of recent months".
Pere Aragonès also announced that the Territorial Civil Protection Plan of Catalonia steering committee has decided to downgrade the emergency phase to the alert phase, and in this line he wanted to thank "the efforts of the citizens of this country, the collective empathy and the capacity of permanent adaptation because "the efforts have paid off”. And in this line he also affirmed that "we will not tire of thanking the efforts of the health personnel and the essential sectors".
The President emphasized that the Government will continue to pay attention to the evolution of the data in order to adapt the pertinent measures according to the situation and reiterated that in order to maintain this downward trend "it is very important to continue respecting the indications and recommendations and, above all, to get vaccinated". Aragonès recalled that we will only achieve herd immunity if everyone is vaccinated, and added: "we have the doses, we have the vaccination points, we have everything ready for those people who have not yet done so". "We will only overcome this pandemic definitively if everyone does their part", he added.