Mandatory masks: In race to step up Covid restrictions, some Spanish regions are pushed back by courts | Spain
The fifth wave of the coronavirus is pushing Spanish authorities to adopt new restrictions in an attempt to contain infections, which largely affect unvaccinated young people. But regional governments, which are in charge of their own health policies, sometimes run up against the courts in their attempt to introduce very restrictive measures such as curfews.
Navarre was the last case on Tuesday, despite soaring infection rates there. But there were other cases elsewhere in Spain last week, even as Catalonia was granted permission to take similar action. And the recent demand from the Basque Country to reintroduce exterior masking at the national level is met with a lukewarm response from the central government.
The following is an updated list of the latest changes affecting parts of Spain.
The northeast region last week put a curfew in 161 municipalities, including Barcelona, and said the measure would be extended or removed every week depending on how the rate of coronavirus cases evolves. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Catalan government said authorities would seek permission on Wednesday to impose a curfew in Lleida and 17 other municipalities, including Roses and Salt (Girona). Residents of areas under curfew are not allowed to take to the streets from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., although there were plenty of street party scenes in Barcelona over the past weekend.
The Regional High Court on Tuesday refused to allow a 1am to 6am curfew for the northern region, where the government had requested permission to introduce the restriction in municipalities with high levels of infection. The 14-day incidence in Navarre is now over 800 cases per 100,000, compared to a national average of 628. Courts in Extremadura and the Canary Islands last week dismissed similar claims from regional governments, while curfews have been approved by judges in Cantabria. and the region of Valencia.
Regional Prime Minister Iñigo Urkullu sent a letter to Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, calling on him to make face masks mandatory in public spaces once again. At the end of June, the government changed the rules regarding coatings, and since then citizens have been allowed to go outside without them provided social distancing is respected. Urkullu also called on the leader of the Socialist Party (PSOE) to give more “legal certainty” to the regions so that they can limit nighttime mobility and restrict the number of people who can meet. The Basque Country is one of the many regions in Spain that have tried to implement strict coronavirus measures, only to be overturned by regional courts. Urkullu was one of the main voices calling for the establishment of the state of alert to give regions sufficient legal powers to limit mobility without the courts rejecting such actions.
Isabel Rodríguez, the new spokesperson for the Spanish government, alluded to Urkullu’s petition during the press conference following the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. “The government believes that the regions have leeway to progress in infection containment measures. This is the framework in which we think we have to work, ”she said, noting that it is still compulsory to wear masks outside in Spain if a safe distance between people cannot be maintained. .
The southern region recorded 3,687 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, which means it has now had five days with more than 3,000 infections detected. The 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 population also increased for the ninth consecutive day and currently stands at 418.5 – 20 points higher than two days ago, and 120.4 points higher. more in a week. The region has not seen such numbers since February, when the incidence was 411.2 points.
At a press conference following the Andalusian cabinet meeting, government official Elías Bendodo said that “if the measures are to be strengthened, we will strengthen them”. A committee of experts is due to meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss the situation, and any new measures will be announced at that time.
the Balearic Islands
The Balearic Regional Government has chosen to increase the fines for those who participate in parties of street drinking – known in Spain as the botellones – to a minimum of € 1,000, and also approved the ban on meetings in private homes between 1 am and 6 am. The restrictions are due to be approved today and will go into effect provided they are approved by regional courts. Government spokesman Iago Negueruela also called on citizens to continue to wear masks under all circumstances. In the Balearic Islands, there are also plans to bring the closings of bars and restaurants forward from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m., and to reduce table occupancy both outside and inside.
Castile and León
The regional government of Castilla y León adopted a series of special measures on Monday focused on hospitality, nightlife, celebrations and public events given the notable increase in Covid-19 cases in that country. The measures, which are to come into effect for a period of 14 days, include a recommendation against the authorization of any event with large crowds. There will also be capacity limits in bars and restaurants, which will have to close at 1.30 am at the latest.
With the report by Miquel Ormazábal
english version by Simon Hunter.
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