Nightclubs and late-night drinking establishments are to close and smoking is to be banned in all public places across Spain in measures announced today.
Salvador Illa, the health minister, announced 11 measures and three recommendations that have been agreed following a meeting with representatives from all of the country’s 17 autonomous regions.
In line with moves already taken in Galicia and the Canary Islands, smoking is prohibited in all public spaces where it is not possible to maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres. This effectively outlaws smoking on the outdoor terraces of bars and restaurants, all of which must now close by 1am.
The botellón, the type of al fresco drinking party favoured by young people, is banned, as is all drinking in public places. No more than 10 people can sit together in a restaurant and with a minimum space of 1.5 metres between tables. The same distance must be maintained in bars.
The measures are another blow to the hospitality business as, until now, outdoor terraces were smokers’ last refuge. It is also high summer when life is lived outside and people of all ages traditionally stay out till the small hours eating and drinking.
Visits to care homes will also be restricted, with only one visitor per day allowed in for a maximum of one hour. Testing will also be targeted at specific groups or neighbourhoods, and to health workers and those employed in care homes.
Among the recommendations, Illa urged people to stay within their social bubble and cautioned against gatherings of more than 10 people at home.
The moves come after 2,935 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours, 842 in Madrid and 1,075 in Catalonia, with a total of 8,000 new infections since Wednesday.
The measures were agreed unanimously, Illa said, adding that “these measures are the minimum, not the maximum. Autonomous regions may take more restrictive measures.”