Jesús Aguirre.
Jesús Aguirre. / EFE

Andalucía tightens restrictions, from stricter mask rules to selective curfews

  • The regional government first wants to check the legality of its nighttime movement ban in Granada and hopes national rules will be set

The Junta de Andalucía regional government toughened anti-Covid rules this week while calling on central government to insist on nighttime curfews in the worst-hit areas nationally.

On Thursday the regional cabinet put in place its first strict curfew on the Granada city area. Movement will be banned from 11pm to 6am as soon as a court approves the measure. Judges have been asked to verify the legality of the unilateral rule, given the current absence of a state of alarm decree from central government to support it.

The measure is also subject to any extra rules a committee of health ministers from all regions meeting nationally was due to agree on Thursday evening.

Andalucía is among those regions calling for central government to take the lead in bolstering legal back-up to the toughest local actions.

More restrictions on bar opening times and mass, controlled testing are being added to the Andalusian cities of Seville, Jaén and Cordoba as well as 13 other smaller municipalities, including Teba in Malaga. Bars and restaurants in those places must now close at 10pm and reduce their occupancy.

Mask rules extended

Those practising sport, such as running and cycling, across the region in busy areas will now be forced to wear their masks. In addition masks will have to be worn at bar and restaurant tables or bars if people are chatting and not actually eating or drinking.

“The evolution of the contagions has grown at a worrying rate;it’s time to strengthen the measures to protect the health of the people of Andalucía, with the support of the experts,” said Elías Bendodo, regional government spokesperson on Thursday.

The regional Health minister, Jesús Aguirre, added that he viewed “in a positive way” any national measures to implement selective nighttime curfews.

Earlier in the week, the Junta president, Juanma Moreno, had told the regional parliament that he wanted central government to act.

Case rates vary by province

Within Andalucía, there are wide variations in case rates. While the regional average on Thursday was 294 cases per 100,000 in the last 14 days, Granada province topped the list of the eight regional provinces with a 640 case rate, followed by Seville province with a rate of 351. Among the lowest case rates was Cadiz and Malaga provinces with 147 and 163 respectively.