BARS and restaurants will be shut for the first time since May in a new tranche of measures to combat COVID-19 infections unveiled by the Valencian Government.

Takeway food service will still be allowed while hospitality in hotels can remain open for guests only.

Shops and businesses will only be allowed to trade until 6.00 pm, though ‘essential’ outlets like food stores and pharmacies can remain open longer.

All forms of gambling venues will be closed and sports centres will be shut except for professional sports training.

The measures will come into force for initially 14 days from this Thursday(January 21)

Valencian President, Ximo Puig, announced the new rules today(January 19) following a meeting of the region’s interdepartmental COVID committee.

Ximo Puig said: “The virus is killing more than ever and is spreading in an extraordinary way, That is why we have to follow the rules in a similar extraordinary way.”

“We have a few terrible weeks left and we can’t lower our guard and relax. We have to have as little social contact as possible,” he added.

Puig ruled out home confinement by saying that it has ‘serious psychological consequences’.

He has though joined regional presidents across Spain in called for the national State of Alarm rules to be changed to allow the curfew start-time to be brought forward two hours to 8.00 pm.

The last total shutdown for the bars and restaurants was phased out last May during the pandemic’s first State of Alarm.

Their business hours were reduced on January 7 with a 5.00 pm closure enforced throughout the region.

The news comes just one day after Puig unveiled a €340 million rescue plan to help beleaguered businesses like hospitality and tourism.

Perimeter closures implemented in 29 Valencian towns and cities on January 7 will end tonight with Puig saying that ‘important measures’ like hospitality closures are now regionwide.

Valencian Health Minister, Ana Barcelo said: “The situation in the Valencian Community is serious as the infection rate averages out at 896 per 100,000 people.”

The regional border closure and restriction of no more than six people getting together remains in force until at least January 31.

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