Spain's Catalonia Could Restrict Beach Access, Regional Curfews Imposed to Curb COVID Surge

Catalonia's regional government has recommended that local authorities restrict access to high-trafficked beaches as Spain tries to curb COVID surges, the Associated Press reported. Other regions throughout the country are enacting other measures, such as a 10-person limit in social gatherings and curfews to restrict late-night activities.

In Catalonia, where just a few dozen people are fully vaccinated, the government has also prohibited any eating and drinking in the streets and banned restaurants and cultural venues from staying open past 12:30 a.m. The move comes as Spain's two-week caseload for people younger than 30 rose to three times higher than the national average, the AP reported.

Fernando Simón, the coordinator of the country's response to health emergencies, said the high case numbers in younger people were boosting the hospital admission rate.

"We are doing things that probably entail a high risk of contagion," he said. "No matter whether it's this variant or another one, the risks we take would lead to an increase in transmission."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Spain Nightlife
Spanish regions are bringing back curfews as well as restrictions on socializing and nightlife to contain a sharp rise in coronavirus infections. Above, people attend the Cruilla music festival in Barcelona on July 9. Joan Mateu/AP Photo

"We are not recording an increase in mortality, and we hope that we don't reach there," Simón told reporters.

Spain has fully vaccinated more than 21 million people or 46 percent of its total population. But only roughly 600,000 of those are under 30, the next target group for vaccine jabs.

Since lifting a national state of emergency in May, regional authorities trying to keep the spread of the virus at bay have sought court authorization for adopting restrictions that curtail basic freedoms. That has led to varying results.

While judges on Monday rejected plans by the northern Aragón region to close nightclubs, a Valencia high court authorized the 10-person limit on meetings there and a 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in 32 towns. The targeted towns, including the regional capital, were labeled high risk after the region's two-week caseload jumped from fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents last month to more than 250 currently.

Spain Vaccinations
A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in a vaccination truck at the Triumphal Arch in Barcelona on July 7. Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images