A very limited package of relaxing pandemic restrictions in the Valencian Community from March 15 has been announced today(March 11) by President Ximo Puig.

Gyms and sports centres will reopen next week and in a surprise move, hospitality businesses can resume indoor service from Monday.

Reports suggest that Puig’s fellow PSOE socialists forced him into the indoor service concession by threatening to veto the reopening of sports facilities if he did not do more for the hard-pressed hospitality sector.

Resisting pressure for a greater rule loosening amidst some of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in Spain, Puig said that ‘we will take the most cautious steps in the country to guarantee health safety and a faster and stronger recovery over the next few months’.

There are four changes to the current rules, which will be maintained until April 12, but could be altered depending on the health situation:-

  1. Bars and restaurants will be able to have 100% of their terraces open from this Monday but the 6.00 pm closing time will not be extended. In a last-minute concession to hospitality associations, 30% indoor capacity will be permitted as well, but with table service only and a maximum of four people at a table. Masks have to be worn when people are not eating or drinking and premises have to have adequate ventilation.
  2. Gyms, swimming pools and sports centres will be able to reopen at 50% capacity.
  3. Educational leisure facilities including toy libraries can reopen up to 30% capacity and with maximum group numbers of ten.
  4. Wedding and funeral attendance capacity is to be raised to 15 indoors and 20 indoors.

As expected the border closure of the Valencian Community continues along with the 10.00 pm curfew start-time. There is no change in the number of people that are allowed to meet socially either indoors or outdoors.

It seems highly likely that the border closure will be maintained until the national State of Alarm statutes run out on May 9.

Ximo Puig has refused to budge over hospitality hours in sharp contrast to other regions that are open into the mid-evening and despite the fact that non-essential shops are allowed to trade until 8.00pm.

Puig said: “These measures will allow a bit more social life and encourage a collective spirit”.

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