Catalonia shuts down late night shops in bid to stop ‘botellons’

Catalonia shuts down late night shops in bid to stop 'botellons'
With bars and restaurants closed, people turned to botellones. Photo: AFP
Catalan authorities approved a new restriction on 24-hour stores after the weekend saw people partying in the streets to defy a ban on gathering in bars and restaurants.

Procicat, the Catalan civil protection agency introduced early closure of 24 hour convenience stores across the region forcing them to close overnight from 10 pm to 7 am. 

The measure comes after a spike in COVID-19 cases last week which led to several new restrictions, including a 2-week shutdown of bars and restaurants beginning last Thursday at midnight. 

 

Speaking to Radio4, the Minister of Home Affairs of Catalonia Miquel Sàmper cited concerns that the closure of bars and restaurants has led to an increase in “botellóns,” or drinking in the street, and that closing 24-hour stores at night would help limit this.

“You can fool the police,” he said in a radio interview, “but you can’t fool the virus.”

In the same interview, Sàmper reiterated that a curfew was not on the table. 

In Barcelona alone, city police said they broke up around 1,000 people involved in botellons over the weekend. 

By Sam Harrison in Barcelona

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