New measures: Indoor venues to close in high incidence areas

by Deborah Cater
New measures being agreed by Inter-territorial Council
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Spain is introducing a new package of measures that will take effect for all regions with more than 150 corona cases per 100,000 inhabitants. At this incidence the risk level is “high” to “very high”.

The proposal is almost complete and awaiting final approval from the Inter-territorial Council. As soon as there is a green light, all indoor areas of catering establishments must close in areas with a “high” risk level. A maximum group size of 6 people also applies at risk level “high” and of 4 people at level “very high”. 

This number is not specifically defined in the current package of measures from the Ministry of Health, but there is an urgent request to limit social contacts as much as possible. However, many autonomous regions already introduced these new measures themselves. For the first time, therefore, the measures have now been adjusted at national level, according to the risk level. 

European standards 

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the risk in an area increases with an incidence of 25 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants over a 14-day period. From 150 cases, the ECDC speaks of a “very high” risk. Following the ECDC, Spain has defined the range of 150-250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants as “high risk”, and anything above 250 as “very high” risk. 

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Specific sectors 

The Ministry of Health wants to tighten up measures in a number of sectors to reduce the incidence rate. The new measures mainly concern bars and restaurants, followed by gyms, hotels, churches, mosques and other places of worship.  

Autonomous regions decide on new measures 

The adapted measures for the “high” to “very high” risk areas are a guideline only. It is the autonomous regions that ultimately decide which of the measure to apply and when. They must, however, keep the ministry informed when changes are made.   

Catering remains open 

In any case, the catering industry does not have to close completely, not even in areas with an incidence greater than 150. This involves an adjustment of the capacity on the terraces to a maximum of 75% or 50%, and adjusted opening hours.  Only when the incidence rises above 500 per 100,000 inhabitants will the entire catering industry have to close venues. Only pick-up or delivery would be allowed. 

Furthermore, with a “very high” risk there will be a switch to distance learning; postponement of ceremonies (weddings, baptisms, etc.), cancellation of all amateur sports and restrictions on non-essential shops. At an incidence of more than 500, everything must close completely.  

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