Is this the future of bar culture in Spain? One region now requires QR code to be served

Is this the future of bar culture in Spain? One region now requires QR code to be served
Photos: AFP
Castilla y La Mancha will require its 2 million inhabitants to download a QR code on their phones to be able to visit bars and restaurants.

The regional government of Castilla-La Mancha will allow bars and restaurants in this vast but sparsely populated part of central Spain to reopen on Friday February 12.

Their capacity will be limited to a third, they will have to close at 9pm (an hour before the region’s curfew starts) and a maximum of six people will be allowed at each table.

But the standout feature of these relaxed Level 3 restrictions is the obligation for customers to download a QR Code on their phones before heading out for a drink or a meal.

First they have to fill in their personal details on this website https://ocioresponsable.castillalamancha.es/ and then they will receive an encrypted QR Code which they’ll have to scan at every bar or restaurant.

The purpose of the scheme is to more accurately track where chains of Covid-19 infections occur and who may have been exposed.

Although similar suggestions have been made by hospitality industry bosses in other parts of Spain such as Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha is the first region to adopt this tech tracking measure.

Spain’s national government did launch the “Radar Covid” tracing app back in August but a study conducted in January 2021 found that it had only been able to trace 2 percent of Covid cases. 

On that occasion, Spain’s left-wing coalition government urged the public to download it on their phones but only 6.8 million of Spain’s 47 million inhabitants downloaded it.

Could it be that by focusing the campaign on one of Spaniards’ preferred pastimes – spending time out with friends and family – Castilla-La Mancha has ensured this tracing method will be more effective? We’ll drink to that!

READ MORE: Has the Covid-19 pandemic killed Spain's pintxos and tapas culture?


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