Restrictions will continue until Spain reaches 70% vaccination rate target

by Lorraine Williamson
70% vaccination rate

MADRID – The new measures will be obligatory. They will vary from region to region depending on whether they fit certain criteria. Furthermore, the measures will remain in place until the 70% vaccination rate target has been achieved.

The agreement was approved in last week´s meeting of the Interterritorial Council. However, the following autonomous governments voted against.

  • The Community of Madrid
  • The Basque Country
  • Catalonia, Galicia
  • Andalucia
  • Murcia.

BOE – the official bulletin

The Official State Gazette (BOE) was published on Saturday following agreement of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System. The agreement was on the declaration of coordinated regional actions against Covid-19.

Thanks to the vaccination strategy implemented in Spain, 27,607,247 doses of vaccine have been administered as of the date of the declaration. At that time, 38.8% of the population had received a single dose and 20.4% were fully vaccinated. Furthermore, most of the over 60s population has been largely protected, being as they are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

The cumulative incidence of COVID-19 cases in the 14 days before June 1, 2021 was 118.54 per 100,000 inhabitants nationwide. There were nine autonomous communities or cities with autonomy status below 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. However, another 3 were still above 180. ICU hospital and bed occupancy at that time was 3.60% and 12.85% respectively and all indicators show downward, smooth but stable trends in virtually all areas.

Common framework of coordinated actions

In view of all the above, it is essential to establish a common framework of coordinated actions and recommendations. Furthermore this will be reported to the public well in advance of any urgent measures of prevention, containment, and coordination to deal with the health crisis caused by COVID-19.

The criteria will be based on accumulative incidence rates, hospitalisation ICU rates and the percentage of over 65s vaccinated. Each region must meet at least two of the requirements to determine which risk level they will be categorised as. The categories are as follows;

  • Very High Risk – level 4
  • High Risk – level 3
  • Medium Risk – level 2
  • Low Risk – level 1
  • New normal – level 0

Nightlife and discotheques

The publication indicates the opening of nightlife venues may be authorised when the epidemiological situation of the autonomous community in which the premises is located falls under risk levels 0 or 1 (new normal or low risk).

The consumption of beverages and food, both indoors and outdoors, will be done sitting at tables. This will ensure the proper safety distance is maintained of at least 1.5 meters between the chairs at different tables.

Furthermore, there is a 50% maximum capacity for indoor and for outdoors. Also, all tables may be occupied if the 1.5 metres distance between chairs is followed. Maximum table sizes are 6 people indoors and 10 people outdoors. Closing time for these establishments will be at the latest at 3am.  

All patrons will require to register on arrival should track and trace be necessary.

For premises located in an area at alert level 2 (medium risk), and as long as the complementary indicators for estimating the level of alert shows a favourable evolution, the autonomous community may consider authorising the opening of nightlife venues with the restrictions proposed in the above. However indoor capacity will be permitted but at a maximum 30%, and closing time will be at the latest 2am.

In areas of high and very high risk (levels 3 and 4) nightlife and discotheques should be closed.

Hospitality and terraces

For hotels, bars and restaurant establishments, including beach bars and restaurants, the publication reflects that in areas where the risk level is 0 (new normal), the allowed capacity will be 50% indoors. This may be increase by a further 10% if risk control measures are applied that guarantee a high level of ventilation and air quality control.

On the outdoor terraces, all the tables allowed may be occupied, ensuring the maintenance of the proper safety distance of at least 1.5 metres between the chairs of different tables.

Likewise, bar service and consumption are allowed, maintaining the aforementioned distance. Tables will have a limit of 6 people indoors and 10 outdoors.

Closing time of these establishments will be at the latest at 1am but they must stop serving at midnight.

For risk level 1(low risk) the restrictions are the same with the exception of a 2-metre distance in all cases required.

In areas with risk level 2 (medium risk), the restrictions are as per level 1 but with the additional limitations of one-third maximum capacity indoors and 75% outdoors. There must also be a 2-metre distance between chairs at different tables and a maximum of 6 persons per table.

For those areas of high risk, indoor areas must be closed to the public and other restrictions follow as per risk level 2.

Areas that come under the very high-risk levels must only open outdoors with a maximum capacity of 50%. Table sizes must accommodate a maximum of 4 people. However, if the average 14-day trend continues to increase and reaches levels of above 500 per 100,000 inhabitants, the premises must close to the public. However, they may remain available for takeaway or home delivery only.

Mass outdoor activities and events

The organisers of mass events, in coordination with local authorities, must carry out a risk assessment. Based on this assessment, additional specific transmission risk reduction measures should be implemented if necessary. This risk assessment must be available to health authorities if required.

Areas in very high risk levels will not be permitted to organise such events.

In general, the document points out smoking is not permitted on public roads or in outdoor spaces when a minimum interpersonal distance of at least 2 metres cannot be respected. This also includes the use of any other tobacco inhalation device, such as electronic cigarettes, water pipes, hookahs or similar products. This is also the case at events and outdoor activities.

Autonomous communities or cities with autonomy statute will continue to hold periodic meetings with the federation of municipalities and provinces within their territorial scope. Resulting in the coordination of common actions to control the transmission of the virus and of the evolution of the vaccination strategy.

The competent Health Departments will communicate to the Local Entities of those territorial areas with special incidence or interest from the point of view of the evolution of the pandemic, all the information necessary to assess the situation and coordinate the adoption of transmission control measures and coverage of the vaccination strategy in their territory.

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