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Stricter rules on nightlife come into force in Andalucía

Young people out in Malaga city centre.
Young people out in Malaga city centre. / SUR
  • The Junta says that local Covid-19 outbreaks are being traced to young people partying, but the clubs and bars sector is outraged at the measures

Nightclubs in Andalucía are required to keep a record of everyone entering as of Wednesday this week, while bars, clubs and restaurants can only have 12 people at tables. The new, stricter measures are aimed at young people. These are gathering in larger groups and causing localised coronavirus outbreaks, the Junta de Andalucía regional government believes.

After a meeting on Monday with mayors from the main city in each of the region's provinces to seek consensus, the decision was taken not to close the sector but to be tougher on the "main route of contagion".

However club and bar owners have demanded that the Junta change its mind, claiming their premises aren't the cause of any outbreak.

Besides nightclubs needing to log customer details, these are only allowed to operate at 40 per cent of their legal capacity, stand-up bars are shut, dancing banned and a table limit of 12 people in force. Nightclubs cannot stay open beyond 5am, when they normally are busiest up to 7am.

On the other hand, pub-bars see their capacity reduced to 60 per cent and opening hours until 3am. There is no need to register.

Clampdown on 'botellones'

There is also to be a stricter law for 'botellones', when groups of young get together to drink in the streets, often in out-of-the-way places. Technically they have been banned in the region since 2006 but police will have stronger powers to break them up immediately.

Nightlife business owners are angry at the measures, which they say will mean "the death" of their industry locally. They are particularly upset about the 5am curfew, as that is the start of their most profitable couple of hours.

One Malaga nightclub boss said, "Why is it that the virus attacks in the early hours in a discobar and not midmorning on a packed metro line?"