SPAIN has banned travel between regions over the March 19th long weekend, a bank holiday for Father’s Day that is observed in some, but not all territories of Spain.
Spain’s Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS), a committee comprising regional healthcare chiefs and the Spain’s central Health Ministry, took the decision to impose perimetral lockdowns over the three-day weekend in a bid to avoid another spike in infections.
The order to be published in Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) also includes a ban on travel between regions during Easter week.
The San Jose puente (a term that means bridge in Spanish and is used to describe a long weekend) is observed in Valencia, Murcia, Navarra, Extremadura, Galicia, the Basque Country and Madrid where March 19 is observed as a bank holiday.
The restrictions for the San Jose long weekend will be in place from March 17-21.
The measures also set restrictions on social gatherings in public spaces such as bars and restaurants, with a maximum of 4 people allowed to meet in indoor public spaces, and 6 people for outside.
Only those living in the same households are permitted to gather in private dwellings.
A night-time curfew will also be in place from 11pm to 6am, although regions are permitted to bring the start time forward to 10pm.
The practice of limiting travel between the regions has become standard over holiday periods, with authorities imposing such restrictions over Spain’s National Day holiday in October and All Saints Weekend at the start of November as well as for the puente at the start of December.
However, restrictions were loosened somewhat over the Christmas and New Year period by some regional authorities to allow cross-border travel for those going to visit family members or close friends.
As usual, the Madrid region was opposed to the restrictions and was the only regional authority to vote against the measure.
“Madrid will not be closing its borders,” said the regional health chief, Enrique Ruiz Escudero. “We will take the measures that we believe to be appropriate.”
However, Madrid regional authorities have yet to state what restrictions they will put in place.
All regions on mainland Spain currently have closed borders for all but justified reasons of travel apart from Madrid and Extremadura with some regions restricting movement between provinces, comarcas or in some cases municipalities.
Madrid’s government has produced a helpful map to show up-date restrictions in each territory.