The Aragonese government of Javier Lambán (PSOE) has decided reopen bars, restaurants and gyms from next Tuesday, December 15. The green light is also given to the opening of ski resorts. And, from December 21, it will be possible to circulate freely between the three Aragonese provinces, upon ending their perimeter confinements.
This lifting of battery restrictions occurs despite the fact that Aragon continues to exceed the health alarm threshold set by the Ministry of Health, with infection rates that are 26% higher than the national average and which is currently the fourth autonomy with the most spread of Covid. The reopening will be done with capacity limitations inside the establishments.
However, both Lambán and his Minister of Health, the also socialist Sira Repollés, defend that the situation already makes it possible to relax the restrictions that were implemented in Aragon in the face of the serious wave of coronavirus that broke out in October, which left a record of deaths in November and that still maintains a high occupation in ICU.
“The epidemiological situation in Spain is better than in other countries,” Lambán said to support the decision they have adopted. Of course, within Spain the differences between regions are very considerable and Aragon, in fact, it continues to be in the leading group in infection rate. Despite this, the Minister Repollés considers that “now we are in a stable situation”, although at the same time he has recognized in the same press conference that the ICUs of the Aragonese hospitals are still “committed” in a “significant” way by the number of Covid patients.
At high risk
Although by very little, official statistics indicate that Aragon as a whole has dropped from 250 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in a cumulative rate in 14 days (around 240 at the moment), that the number of Covid patients in ICUs is below 35% of total beds, and that the global hotel occupancy of coronavirus patients is below 15%.
According to the scale that the Aragonese Government set itself, these data allow it to move to a alert level 3 “relaxed”. Level 3 is the one that reflects the maximum risk. The “flexibilized” is the least severe within this maximum risk, which makes it possible to relax certain restrictions. If the health alarm threshold of the Ministry of Health is attended to, Aragon far exceeds it. And, given the risk of a rebound again, both Lambán and Repollés have advanced that this would again force the limitations to be tightened.
Last October, when the state of alarm that was imposed on Madrid was discussed, the minister Salvador Illa He stressed that exceeding the rate of 200 infections per 100,000 inhabitants forced to maintain that alarm. Aragon is currently around 240 cases per 100,000, but in the province of Teruel it shoots up to over 300.
Free mobility between provinces
Despite this, the lifting of restrictions decided by the Lambán Government also includes the free mobility between the three Aragonese provinces.Only one of them, Huesca, currently offers a contagion rate of less than 200.
The lifting of the provincial confinements will take effect on the 21st. From that day, it will be possible to travel freely between the three Aragonese provinces -not between autonomous communities- and bars and restaurants will reopen in Aragon, which now could only be served on the terrace , and with a very limited capacity.
Bars and restaurants
In these cases, the flexibility is considerable. From next Tuesday, December 15, in Aragon the terraces of bars and restaurants will be able to function fully, one hundred percent, and it can also be consumed indoors, at 30% capacity and at the table, not at the bar. Until now, indoor consumption was not allowed, and the terraces could only function in half.
In addition, the hotel business may be open until 10 pm, two hours later than allowed up to now.
Gyms and ski resorts
The gyms and the rest of the sports facilities are also reopened, with a capacity of 30%, mandatory use of a mask and, in the case of group activities, with a maximum of six participants.
Also, Aragon has decided to allow the opening of ski resorts. In this region, most of its stations belong to the Aramón business group, which is 50% owned by the regional government and Ibercaja.
Lambán announced this Saturday that on December 23, three of the Aramón stations will open, those of Formigal and Cerler, in the Huesca Pyrenees, and that of Valdelinares, in the Teruel mountains. Of course, Lambán has recognized that, since mobility between autonomous communities is closed, the profitability of these openings will be zero. “But we will open them for social profitability,” said Lambán, to support economic activity in those areas, which depend on the winter season.
On the other hand, in shows and cultural activities, the capacity is expanded throughout Aragon to 50%, compared to the 30% that had been in effect until now.
As for the curfew, on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve it will be lighter: free mobility in the street will be allowed until 1.30 am, instead of at 11.00 pm.