CORONAVIRUS

Spain’s bars and nightclubs can reopen under Phase 3 on Monday, but no dancing allowed

Bullrings will also be permitted to restart their activity in Phase 2, but with a third of capacity. All seats will be available on public transport too

A terrace bar in Santander, Cantabria.
A terrace bar in Santander, Cantabria.Juan Manuel Serrano Arce / EL PAÍS

From Monday evening, bars and nightclubs will be able to open in the half of Spain that will be entering Phase 3 of the government’s deescalation plan for coronavirus confinement measures. This is one of the main changes included in the ministerial order published today in the Official State Gazette (BOE), and which details all of the updates that will go into effect in two days’ time.

The BOE also includes some changes to Phase 2, which Madrid, the Valencia region and Castilla y León will move to, along with the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real and Toledo in Castilla-La Mancha; the Catalan healthcare areas of Girona, Catalunya Central, Lleida and Barcelona; as well as the North African exclave city of Ceuta.

These changes in Phase 2 include:

  • Bullrings and open-air bullfighting installations can open, provided seats are pre-assigned and capacity does not exceed a third of that authorized, with a limit in all cases of 400 people.
  • On buses and trains “where all occupants must be seated, all seats can be used. When the level of occupation permits, the maximum space between users should be observed.” Until now, it was obligatory to leave a seat between passengers. If there are areas for travel while standing, all of the seated spaces can be occupied, with occupation while standing of two users per square meter, with the greatest separation possible. Until now, half of the seats had to be left empty in these cases, with the row of seats behind the driver also unoccupied.
  • In vehicles with up to nine seats, the rules do not change. If all of the occupants live together, all spaces can be occupied. If not, “two people can travel in each row of seats, as long as the maximum distance possible between occupants is observed.”
  • In taxis and other public transport vehicles with up to nine seats, nothing changes: the passenger seat must be left empty, and three people can sit in a row if they live together, two if not.
  • Two-seat motorcycles and scooters can now be occupied by two people, doing away with the restriction from May 9 that this could only happen when full crash helmets or masks were worn, or in the case that the passengers lived together. Passengers will still have to use gloves, as will the rider if the vehicle is a shared motorcycle.
  • The capacity of hostelry and restaurant establishments cannot exceed 50%, always with distance between tables.

The main changes in Phase 3 are:

  • Nighttime bars and nightclubs can open with a third of their capacity. But dancing is not permitted, given that “when there is an area used for a dancefloor or similar in a venue, it should be used to install tables or groups of tables, and cannot be employed for its habitual use.” Social distancing measures will still apply, and if they cannot be observed, the use of masks will be obligatory.
  • Bull rings can reopen with pre-assigned seats and without exceeding “half of the authorized limit, and in all cases not exceeding 800 people.”
  • Casinos, gambling halls and other venues for these activities can open, with a maximum of 50% of capacity. The limit of 50 people including employees is removed.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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