All of Spain's 17 regional governments, which have been responsible for healthcare since the end of the state of emergency in June, have agreed to enforce the measures which were announced on Friday by Health Minister Salvador Illa.
Each region must publish its own account of measures in regional official gazettes and some – including Galicia, Cantabria, Andalusia and Castilla-Leon – have already done so, while others will follow this week.
The exact timing of when measures would be introduced in each of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions has not been set but Illa urged them to be rolled out by regional governments “as soon as possible”.
The 11 new measures and three recommendations issued by Spain’s Health Ministry are listed below.
- The closure of all discos, night clubs, late night bars and dancing halls.
- Restaurants and bars are required to close by one am, with no new guests allowed in from midnight.
- A distance of 1.5metres must be maintained between people inside bars as well as between tables at restaurants where groups will be limited to ten people sitting together.
- A ban on smokingoutdoors in public places when a distance of two metres cannot be maintained, this includes smoking at open air tables on bar and restaurant terrazas. Such a ban had already been introduced in Galicia and The Canary Islands.
- New limits regarding visits to the elderly living in retirement homes and the staff that work there have been imposed. These include visits capped at one hour per resident and the need for PCR testing on new residents and staff returning from holidays.
- Mass gatherings: Risk assessments must be carried out by regional health authorities ahead of authorising every event that involves a crowd of people, such as concerts, sports matches, etc.
- Botellóns banned: In a move targeting young people, the practice of gathering in groups in the open air to drink and socialise is now “extremely forbidden” with authorities urged to crack down on such meetings and apply strict penalties.
- Provisions for mass targeted PCR screenings when new outbreaks are detected with testing facilities in place for the most vulnerable when a spike is discovered at places such as health centres and elderly residential homes.
In addition to the above essential new measures announced by Health Minister Salvador Illa, he also outlined three recommendations which regional health authorities should consider introducing in a bid to reduce the risk of outbreaks.
- These are to limit socialising to “bubbles” involving a limited number of households.
- To return to a limit on the number of people at any social gathering to a maximum of ten
- And finally to carry out regular PCR screening at hotspots such as elderly care homes and day centres.
It will be up to each of the regional governments to implement the measures in their own way.
On Monday the Basque Country declared a “healthemergency” which will allow it to impose tougher restrictions than its neighbours because of the risk of a “tsunami” of new infections.
Spain counts nearly 343,000 infections, the highest amount in WesternEurope. In the past 14 days, it produced 115 new cases per 100,000 people, compared to 45 in neighbouring France, 19 in Britain and 16 in Germany.
But a large part of the new cases are in asymptomatic people and thelethality of the virus has decreased considerably — out of the 28,617 virus deaths which Spain has recorded less than 300 have occurred since the end of a strict lockdown on June 21st.