CORONAVIRUS

Spain’s regions begin to implement ministry order to close bars and nightclubs and impose smoking restrictions

The governments of Andalusia, Murcia, La Rioja, Cantabria and Galicia have already published their official gazettes setting out the latest coronavirus measures

A temperature check is carried out at the door of a bar in Marbella, in southern Spain.
A temperature check is carried out at the door of a bar in Marbella, in southern Spain.Antonio Paz / EFE

Spain’s regions have seen an unusual number of official gazettes published over recent days. The latest came from Andalusia, which on Sunday night made the latest coronavirus measures agreed with the Health Ministry official, ordering the closure of nighttime bars, restricting smoking when a two-meter safe distance cannot be observed, and imposing new measures in senior residences.

The remaining regions are due to publish similar measures this week, after Health Minister Salvador Illa announced the agreements reached with the regional governments to combat new coronavirus infections on Friday. No specific date was set out by Illa for these restrictions to be introduced by each region, but the minister said that they would be taking effect across Spain “as soon as possible.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Murcia region published the ministerial order containing the latest measures, including PCR tests for all new arrivals in care homes in a bid to prevent new outbreaks.

Meanwhile, Castilla y León on Saturday published its gazette, which was aimed at “bringing to the public’s attention, and for its obligatory observance, the order communicated by the Health Ministry on August 14, 2020,” before reproducing said order in its entirety.

For its part, the northern region of Cantabria has taken a more complicated approach. To start with, it has omitted the section about care homes in its gazette, and has instead clarified issues such as safe distancing in training centers such as driving schools, adding the “prohibition of activities on beaches or in parks during nighttime hours” to the section about carrying out risk assessments of events with crowds.

Galicia published its edict on Saturday, and also veered from the text laid out by the ministry, making clear that the regional health department will be in charge of determining the “specific measures” that will be put in place in care homes.

La Rioja, which published its gazette on Saturday, also reproduced the ministry’s order with one exception regarding social services, specifying that the region will determine which centers will reopen after having been closed during the state of alarm declared by the central government.

The North African exclave city of Ceuta on Friday published an order prohibiting street drinking, known in Spanish as a botellón, while nearby Melilla published an order on Saturday that did not include the proposals from the Health Ministry, but rather regulated botellónes and imposed a closing time of 1am for “special bars, or pubs or whisky bars” in the city.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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