TOUGHER restrictions are being imposed in Spain’s Valencian Community, including the Costa Blanca, which has some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country.

Increasing hospitalisations and death rates have forced Valencian president, Ximo Puig, to announce a new package of measures today(January 5), which include border closures for 26 municipalities. Including Alcoy, Castalla and Polop in Alicante Province.

The new rules come into force this Thursday(January 7) and will run until at least January 31.

Ximo Puig said: “The pandemic situation is serious in the region and it has needed a strong and proportional response from the government.”

The hospitality trade which could serve customers until 10.00 pm will now have to pull their shutters down at 5.00 pm.

No more than four people will be able to sit at a table and all smoking is prohibited on terraces.

Indoor bar and restaurant capacity will remain at 30%.

Private gatherings are limited to a six- person maximum indoors.

The Valencian Community curfew start-time is being brought forward for the second time in less than three weeks.

A 10.00 pm rule comes into force from this Thursday night, as opposed to the current 11.00 pm cut-off point.

26 Community municipalities will have their borders closed except for essential travel like going to work.

They have been singled-out because of their high COVID-19 case rates.

The list is; Borriol, Atzeneta del Maestrat, Soneja, Jerica, Alcoy, Castalla, Polop, Lliria, Massanassa, Ayora, Utiel, Sedaví, Sollana, Guadassuar, Moixent, Ontinyent, Oliva, Daimús, Canals, Benigànim, Sinarcas, Anna, Bonrepos i Mirambell, Xativa, Quatretonda and Cheste.

The Valencian border closure has also been extended to January 31.

30% capacity restrictions are also being introduced for some shops and businesses, with all forms of entertainment activities that attract a concentration of people being scrapped for at least 14 days.

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