Spain's regions given total freedom to decide their Covid hospitality and nightlife measures

A nightclub, adapted to the Covid protocols.
A nightclub, adapted to the Covid protocols. / EUROPA PRESS
  • The Ministry of Health wanted to impose certain national restrictions but made a last-minute U-turn

The Ministry of Health and Spain's regions have unanimously agreed a proposal that gives the latter absolute freedom in deciding their own coronavirus control measures in the hospitality sector this summer. The department, headed by Carolina Darias, did a last-minute U-turn and also agreed to allow the regions to make decisions about nightlife restrictions which the minister had previously flagged as “non-negotiable”.

In just a few days the central government department has gone from publishing a summer full of restrictions on bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the BOE Official Gazette on Saturday to removing any national limitations on the sectors.

At a meeting of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS) this Wednesday (9 June), the Ministry of Health brandished the 'white flag' with a proposal that was almost impossible not to agree because, in reality, it does not impose any obligations on the regions - although the Basque Country refused to take part in the debate.

In the original draft proposal, published on Monday, the Ministry had already removed controversial national restrictions on bars and restaurants after the 'rebellion' of several territories including Madrid, the Basque Country, Castilla y León, Galicia, Murcia, Catalonia, La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha, Andalucía and Melilla. However, the department continued to insist that nightclubs had to close at 2am and, only in exceptional circumstances 3am. But that text had also been removed from the proposal presented to the meeting with the regions this Wednesday.

Therefore, there will be no national measures imposed on the hospitality sector by the Ministry of Health and pandemic control measures, including opening hours, capacity limits and social distancing will now be in the hands of the individual regions.