24-hour shops to close at 10pm to avoid curfew

Government says curfew not being considered but refuses to rule it out

The Catalan head of Home Affairs, Miquel Sàmper, announced new measures requiring 24-hour close at 10 pm. "It is a very small sector, but we will put all the tools in place to avoid very restrictive measures. We aim to avoid a curfew. But to do so, we also have to trust people," he said in an interview with Ràdio 4.

On the other hand, vice-president and acting president Pere Aragonès has not ruled out a curfew in Catalonia, although he has remarked that "right now it is not on the table". "We are not considering it, but if this pandemic has shown us one thing, it is that nothing can be ruled out", said Aragonès.

Sàmper also recalled that this weekend there were people who "cheated": "They could not go to restaurants in Catalonia and went to those in Huesca province," he said. "We have to try to avoid a new lockdown, and in principle we trust people. Yesterday there was a party of 130 people in El Catllar. People are not complying and doing as they please," he said. In turn, Aragonès also recalled that you cannot eat outdoors and said that the Government is working with all administrations to ensure that restrictions are met.

However, according to Sàmper, the balance for the weekend "is positive" and the percentage of people who have ignored the restrictions "is low". "We will have to be on the alert in case we have to tighten the rules," he said, after noting his diapproval of the crowds in nature parks this weekend. "People are going on day trips instead of spending two or three days, so the national parks are filling up." He claims a pedagogical approach is key to avoid the scenes repeating themselves this weekend.

Drinking on the street in Barcelona

In an interview to Catalunya Ràdio. the mayor of Barcelona defended  that the majority of the citizens have complied with the rules. However, Barcelona police did have to deal with over a thousand people drinking on the streets between Thursday and Sunday.

The Catalan hospitality association Fesacarm, on the other hand, has estimated losses at 315 million euros in the first weekend of closed bars and restaurants. It has warned that the number of "illegal" and private parties has increased as a result of the closure, even in luxury hotel rooms.

The mayor  said that the City Council has already allocated 15 million euros to help bars and restaurants by reducing taxes and allowing more outdoor seating. She has called for urgent measures from the Catalan government to help the sector, considering the 40 million euros already announced to be "clearly insufficient".

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