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1 Feb, 2021 16:36

Madrid to relax restaurant Covid-19 rules to help businesses and push back against ‘political pressure’ despite high infections

Madrid to relax restaurant Covid-19 rules to help businesses and push back against ‘political pressure’ despite high infections

The region of Madrid will relax some of its Covid-19 restrictions this week, the region’s president announced on Monday, even though infection rates in the capital remain high and most of Spain is tightening health measures.

From Friday, the number of diners allowed per table on outdoor restaurant terraces in Madrid will be upped from four to six and the 10pm curfew on business activity will be pushed back to midnight “as soon as possible,” Isabel Diaz Ayuso said.

Ayuso also announced that the use of face masks inside hospitality establishments will be made mandatory.

Those in the Spanish capital are already generally required to wear face coverings indoors at all public spaces, but the regional government is drawing up new and more specific legislation, under which masks will only be allowed to be taken off while eating or drinking.

Also on rt.com Spain’s pandemic-hit economy suffers steepest drop on record

Under the current rules, people are permitted to eat and drink inside bars and restaurants, but must leave by 9pm.

“In Madrid, we are doing everything in our power to keep our bars and restaurants and our cultural space open despite political pressure,” said Ayuso, who represents Spain’s conservative PP party.

The planned changes come despite Madrid’s current infection risk being determined as “extreme,” according to health officials, with a 14-day coronavirus incidence rate of 993 cases per 100,000, above the Spanish average of 886, according to Health Ministry data.

The capital recorded over 66,000 infections in the last fortnight – more than any other Spanish region. It has registered 515,790 overall, the highest regional cumulative infection total in the country.

Also on rt.com Madrid RUNS OUT of Covid-19 jabs, halts vaccinations for two weeks

On Monday, Ayuso also unveiled plans to step up Covid-19 vaccinations for those in “highly exposed sectors,” including waiters, teachers, taxi drivers, and supermarket workers.

Around 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have so far been administered in Spain. Madrid is among the regions with the lowest number of vaccinations carried out relative to its population size.

In Spain, 58,319 people have died from Covid-19 to date and the country has registered more than 2.7 million cases.

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