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Spanish regions boost measures to fight COVID-19

Galicia will require all restaurants to have CO2 meters

Alyssa McMurtry   | 16.04.2021
Spanish regions boost measures to fight COVID-19

OVIEDO, Spain

As Spain’s infection rate continued to increase on Friday, more of the country’s regional governments announced new measures to reduce contagion.

On Friday, the Health Ministry reported nearly 10,600 cases and 100 more COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s a slight increase from Thursday, though the country appears to be approaching a plateau.

At the same time, the distribution of infections across the country is dramatically uneven. This is spurring regions to diverge further in terms of restrictions.

Andalusia has been one of the harder-hit areas during the country’s fourth wave. The main hospital in Granada has even begun putting an overflow of patients in its Catholic chapel.

As a result, new measures are set to come into effect Sunday, which force bars and restaurants to shut their doors at 8:00 p.m. local time -- two and a half hours earlier than the current regulations stipulate.

Members of the hospitality sector have expressed irritation over the new rules, but will still be able to serve customers past sundown this weekend. This came as some relief as it coincides with the beginning of La Feria de Abril, a major festival that has been canceled but still may be partially celebrated.

The northwest region of Galicia has managed to keep contagions among the lowest in the country. There, officials are loosening curfew restrictions and allowing restaurants to stay open until 11:00 p.m.

The looser restrictions on serving late dinners come with a catch. The restaurants will soon have to own and use meters that measure the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to make sure it does not exceed a certain level and to encourage ventilation.

In Catalonia, where the infection rate is above the national average, local officials announced Friday that they would keep the borders closed around all of its counties, only allowing people to leave and enter for justified reasons. At the same time, bars and restaurants will continue closing at 5:00 p.m. local time for at least another 10 days.

In Madrid, 17 neighborhoods and three towns will also be confined from Monday. The capital region has been notorious for its relatively lax restrictions since last summer and still allows bars and restaurants to stay open until 11:00 p.m.

Currently, the Basque Country and Spain’s two African enclaves have the country’s highest infection rates. While Ceuta and Melilla tightened curfews, the Basque Country refrained from adopting new measures this week.

Overall, Spain has managed to keep the fourth wave low compared to the previous three. The country’s vaccination campaign is partially to thank, as 19% of the population has now received at least one dose.

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