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Catalonia and Valencia reimpose more COVID restrictions

More bad news for Spain's struggling tourism reopening, more regional restrictions are sure to follow, from Reuters:

Spain's two-week COVID-19 contagion rate kept rising on Monday, reaching 368 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, officials said, more than tripling in two weeks as infections have soared especially among young people. Health emergency chief Fernando Simon said the pace of increase had reduced in recent days as officials believe the latest wave is nearing its peak. He praised new restrictions announced in the hard-hit Mediterranean regions of Catalonia and Valencia.

Simon said the infection hike in Catalonia could be attributed to the increasing arrival of domestic and foreign tourists amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant. The lower vaccination rate among youngsters and the impact of outbreaks related to school graduation trips are also playing a role across Spain, he added.

The Catalan regional government announced on Monday that all activities, including bars, would have to shut at 12:30 a.m., social gatherings would be capped at ten people, while eating or drinking in public areas would be banned.

Separately, a court authorised more than 30 towns in the neighbouring Valencia region to impose night curfews to counter a soaring COVID-19 infection rate. The regional government had asked its regional court to authorise a 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on towns with more than 5,000 inhabitants considered high-risk, including its capital, Valencia, and local tourism hotspot Benicassim. Social gatherings of more than 10 people will be banned.

"In Spain, we are becoming experts in premature easing of restrictions. When we decided to lift restrictions in this fourth wave there was not enough immunity among citizens to remove many of the restrictions," Dr. Rafael Bengoa, co-founder of Bilbao's Institute for Health and Strategy, told Reuters.

He said the authorities had rushed to boost tourism numbers rather than base their decisions on epidemiological data.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/dozens-towns-spains-valencia-reimpose-curfews-curb-covid-19-2021-07-12/

Posted by
3013 posts

Thank you Carlos - I'm disappointed to hear this - not good news for locals or travelers! We're scheduled to arrive in Madrid mid-September but we know that there is a good chance we won't get there as scheduled.

For now though, is it difficult to travel to and/or from regions that have new restrictions?

Posted by
45 posts

Sharon, I too am scheduled to land in Madrid at the end of September. I'm not losing hope just yet. Still lots of time and from everything I've been reading, the vaccination campaign is going at a good clip. Obviously the last week or two hasn't seen the greatest news, but hopefully it will all work out.

Posted by
2280 posts

Hi Sharon, for now, these new measures do not affect domestic travel within the country. The Valencia region, for example, has imposed a curfew in 32 municipalities and limit social meetings throughout its territory. The Canary Islands, meanwhile, have requested restrictions on nightlife and Catalonia, which last week closed its nighttime venues, has approved the closure of non-essential activities at 12.30am and limiting social meetings to a maximum of 10 people.

The central government in Spain plans to continue to welcome international visitors through the summer season until August, past that is anyone's guess. European countries are starting to impose new restrictions on flights from Spain, like Czechia. France and Germany are advising their citizens avoid holidays to Spain.

The covid response has now been decentralized in Spain, so restrictions between regions vary considerably and can get quite confusing. I was watching TVE just today and they were interviewing foreign tourists who were caught past the new curfew in Valencia, of course they had no idea that was illegal, I don't blame them, travel only a few hours south to neighboring Murcia and there are no such restrictions. The response/messaging from the regional governments has been pretty abysmal during this new 5th wave of covid.

Posted by
3013 posts

Thank you so much Carlos for the further update! It does sound complicated for people currently traveling in those regions. I would appreciate any updates as I always value your comments.

James, I'm cautiously optimistic - a lot could change in two months for the better...or worse. Everything we've scheduled can be canceled - hoping that the same is true for you.

Best wishes!

Posted by
38 posts

Hi Carlos-
I appreciate these posts from you as well, as it is difficult to keep track of all the restrictions. We had planned to travel in early August to Barcelona and then on to Valencia, Granada, Cadiz and Madrid. I am hesitant to make concrete arrangements for fear our travel will be restricted or that with restaurants closing we may not be able to get food!
From your post above, maybe it's best to leave off Valencia, as that is one of the regions most affected by restrictions. We are picking up family in Barcelona however, so Barcelona for us is a must stop.

Thanks,
Elizabeth

Posted by
2280 posts

From your post above, maybe it's best to leave off Valencia, as that is one of the regions most affected by restrictions.

I think that would be prudent and to limit your time in Barcelona too as Catalonia is currently going through the worst outbreak in Spain with increasing hospitalizations.