ALL of the Rock’s restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms have been ordered to close until January 10 as COVID-19 brought Gibraltar to a standstill.

A ‘major incident’ has now been declared and the authorities are set to reopen the Nightingale Field Hospital, as the enclave reached an alarming 209 active cases.

In new rulings, masks are to be worn in all public areas as the Gibraltar Government took action to avoid having to order a full lockdown.

A maximum of three households will be allowed to mix over Christmas, while all religious worship has been stopped.

Elderly people have been strongly advised to stay at home with ‘golden hour’ exercise cancelled until January 11.

Companies are being asked to get staff to work remotely, while it is thought unlikely that schools will reopen early in January.

It comes as the number of infected persons has gone up five times since the 37 active cases recorded on December 13 and is many more than the previous record of 129.

While planes can continue to land, all visitors must have a negative certificate or take a test on arrival.

Visitors from Spain will not face restrictions, however, it is understood Spain is set to bring in new tougher restrictions on those crossing from the Rock.

The country announced yesterday that it was banning all tourists from coming in from the UK after a new strain spread rapidly around the South East.

The government blamed the rapid spread on a particularly busy Black Friday.

An angry protest from the Gibraltar Catering Association outside No.6 Convent Place on December 18 led to fines for organisers and participants.

The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the costs of these businesses will be covered in a new package to be announced soon.

Schools could open on January 11 with the possibility they could be delayed by two weeks depending on the active cases.

Visits to the elderly will finally be banned this Christmas and New Year after the current rise.

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