Local lockdowns and ban on cultural and after-school activities

Homeworking encouraged and schools to stay open

The Catalan Government will shortly announce new weekend confinements in towns, allowing nobody to leave nor enter, as well as a ban on all cultural and sports activities. After-school activities will also have to stop. According to RAC1 - and confirmed by ARA - the executive would also ban people from entering or leaving Catalonia and, in addition, would extend the closure of bars and restaurants. Perimeter confinements for the weekend would begin, according to Government plans, at 6 am on Friday, and end at 6 am on Monday.

However, food deliveries would be allowed to operate until 11 p.m., to ensure a minimum amount of activity for the catering sector. As for commerce, only shops under 800 square metres will be allowed to operate.

At least for 15 days

As far as work is concerned, as ARA explained yesterday, it seems highly likely that working from home where possible will continue to be encouraged. In addition, schools will also remain open. In this regard, government sources explained yesterday to this newspaper that the measures could include exceptions to facilitate mobility for workers who have to change towns to do their jobs and also for schoolchildren. Recommendations for distance learning which could affect secondary schools and vocational training are also being considered.

All these measures will last 15 days and will then be revised to toughen them, relax them or maintain them for a few more days. Aid programmes for affected sectors have been hinted at.

On Wednesday, government sources confirmed that the new restrictions would come in the form of perimeter closures. In fact, the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, insisted yesterday that the current state of alarm does not allow home confinement of any kind and stressed that what could be implemented were "strict" perimeter control measures. Hence, despite the fact that many epidemiologists and scientists recommended the population isolate at home, the Government has finally opted for a formula that fits within the current legal framework.

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