In a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Canary Islands has banned nightlife in enclosed spaces and ordered the obligatory use of masks in both indoor and outdoor public spaces. The new ban includes within hotels and restaurant establishments, including bars and cafes.
The regional government has also ordered the mandatory use of masks in all spaces, both closed and open, regardless of whether the safety distance of 1.5 metres can be maintained.
It says it has to adopt “more demanding preventive measures in order to preserve people’s health and the economy”.
The Canary Islands is the community with the most favourable cumulative incidence of cases in the entire country, with 22.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, but as across Spain, the Canaries are still suffering from new coronavirus outbreaks.
The islands’ leaders say there has been a significant increase in cases of COVID-19 in the archipelago in the last week, especially in those under 30 years of age and linked to nightlife. Currently, in the Canary Islands, there are 28 active outbreaks, with 268 cases and 745 close contacts identified and in quarantine.
“On July 31, there were 15 active outbreaks in the Canary Islands, involving 157 confirmed cases and more than 500 close contacts identified and quarantined. In other words, in two weeks the number of people being traced for outbreaks has increased by 50 percent,” said a government spokesman.
“Faced with this situation, the Governing Council has decided to adopt new restrictive measures proportional to the risk and aimed at those areas or sectors in which the risk of transmission must be reduced.”
The new mask rule is in place for persons aged six years and older and is applicable to visitors and locals.
It will be mandatory to wear a mask on “public roads, in outdoor spaces and in any closed space for public use, or in the one that is open to the public, regardless of maintaining the interpersonal safety distance of at least 1.5 metres.”
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Masks must also be “used correctly”, coving the mouth and nose completely at all times.
The only time masks can be removed will be to eat and drink when in food establishments.
In Spain, fines of up to €100 are being issued to those found to be flouting face mask rules.
It has not yet been specified if the same applies to the Canary Islands.
Bars and restaurants will also face some additional changes to regulations.
While bars and restaurants were previously allowed to take groups of 15, this has since been lowered to ten people to a table or group of tables.
This applies both inside and outside.
The separation distance of 1.5 metres has to be maintained between tables, as well as in the bar between clients or groups.
Nightlife events, meanwhile, can only take place in outside spaces though at a capacity of 75 percent.
All customers will be required to wear face masks and maintain social distance from those outside their party.
“Where appropriate, the security personnel will ensure that the interpersonal safety distance is respected and will avoid the formation of large groups and agglomerations, paying special attention to access and immediate areas, as well as to any other area where the safety interpersonal distance,” said the government spokesman.
The Canary government has further prohibited gatherings and parties on recreational boats where a safe distance cannot be maintained.
The celebration of fiestas and popular festivals are also banned.
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