Posted on Jul 26, 2020
In a blow to the Spanish tourist industry, the country's nightclubs, bars and beaches are facing new lockdown restrictions after turning into coronavirus hot spots.
In the northeast region of Catalonia authorities in Barcelona and the agricultural area around Lleida will tighten restrictions that were eased only a month ago when Spain thought it had its devastating outbreak in check.
France, meanwhile, is recommending that travelers ditch plans to spend their summer vacations in Barcelona and its nearby beaches, which have seen crowds too massive to allow for social distancing. Police had to step in and take measures to reduce the number of beach-goers.
Catalonia has ordered all nightlife venues to close for 15 days and applied a midnight curfew on bars in and around Barcelona and Lleida late Friday, hours after French Prime Minister Jean Castex urged French citizens not to visit Catalonia due to the upticks in new infections.
“We know these measures are tough,” said Catalonia public health chief Josep Maria Argimon. “But we have to ask for the maximum collaboration of our citizens so they don’t last any longer than they have to. If we see that the growth of contagion is exponential, then the only way to stop it is to limit free movement.”
Local mayors said the shutdown should have been ordered days earlier.
“The measures have arrived late, but they have now been taken and myself and my fellow mayors feel that they are the correct measures to take,” Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau said Saturday before asking for Catalan regional police to help her municipal police enforce the curfew and closures.
Spain reported over 900 new daily infections on Thursday and Friday as authorities warned that the country which lost at least 28,400 lives before getting its outbreak under control could be facing the start of a second major onslaught.
National health authorities warned that Spain could already be heading for a “second wave” of the virus that experts had forecast would come during the colder months.
Over 12% of Spain’s economy is based on its huge tourism industry. Its government, unions and industry leaders are heavily invested in promoting the message that Spain is a safe destination for foreigners to salvage the tourism season.
“We have seen a wave of cancellations above all by foreign clients from France, Germany and England who were supposed to come next week, above all to Barcelona,” David Riba, president of the Federatur tourist apartments group, told Catalan broadcaster TV3.
Follow EU Today on Social media: