• Leisure.Catalonia prepares for a summer with "different" festivals

Just in time Barcelona and its metropolitan area received Phase 3 of the de-escalation and the blessing of the Generalitat to enter a phase of resumption, as the president of the Generalitat Quim Torra renamed at the exit of the confinement by the coronavirus. The decision came two days before the state of alarm officially ended and allowed hundreds of thousands of Catalans to travel by road to celebrate the Sant Joan festival bridge. However, it is a fairly decaffeinated party compared to other years due to the restrictions imposed by the Generalitat. The Department of the Interior advised the municipalities not to open the beaches the night of the festival to celebrate it to avoid crowds and it was recommended that parties at home or on the street be less than 20 people.

Catalonia is still in a health emergency due to the Covid-19, so the Minister of the Interior, Miquel Buch, urged the municipalities not to grant permits for beach parties, as this will avoid "massive and multitudinous" celebrations in which they do not The safety distance or controls at the entrance and exit accesses cannot be guaranteed. Barcelona and the surrounding municipalities, as well as several on the Costa Brava and Daurada, have already announced that they will prohibit entry to the beaches during the festival, which will strengthen surveillance.

However, Buch encouraged them to celebrate the "first big party" after the lack of control with family or with groups of regular friends, in a number not exceeding twenty people and always keeping the safety distance. Furthermore, it is recommended to use unique hydroalcoholic gel when handling pyrotechnic material, since it is a flammable liquid that can cause accidents. Its use is also not recommended if you go to the beach to sunbathe.

Therefore, beyond a possible regrowth, the main concern of the Generalitat is to celebrate "safely" on roads where a significant increase in traffic is expected after very little traffic has been registered in recent months. From this Friday until next Tuesday, when the return is expected, it is estimated that half a million vehicles from Barcelona and its metropolitan area will go to the coast, the Pyrenees and the second homes.

Within this important mobility on the road, the Mossos d'Esquadra will carry out some 1,400 checks during the bridge, of which 205 will be alcohol and drug use, while 950 checks will be carried out specifically on the night of Sant Joan. Thus, it is an operation similar to the one that was launched during the confinement but with a clearly different objective: to avoid risky situations and not the displacement of people who had to remain in their homes.

Interior also plans to reinforce the staff at 280 by 280%, since together with New Year's Eve it is one of the nights with the most emergency calls. Last year 60% of these notices were related last year to fire. They also increase the number of firefighters, in addition to the opening of the volunteer park. In some localities bonfires will be banned to avoid crowds since from all administrations it is noted that the virus is "alive and active".

The days before the verbena, 700 temporary firecracker booths will be opened in Catalonia, which is 30% less than the previous year, which must be added to the 300 fixed points of pyrotechnic sale. The sector expects a decrease of 25% in turnover compared to other years.

On the other hand, environmental and animal organizations asked administrations to limit the use of pyrotechnics to prevent air pollution from aggravating the coronavirus health crisis. They consider firecrackers and fireworks to have "harmful effects" on people's health, especially in a pandemic context since the emission of heavy metals can favor the spread of the virus and aggravate respiratory and cardiac pathologies.

In addition, they warned that accidents caused by these materials during festivities such as Sant Joan night could "overwhelm" the emergency services of a health system "that has suffered dramatic weeks of saturation, stress and cost overruns". The entities Depana, Futur Animal, Ecologistes en Acción, Corazón de Paloma, Animanaturalis, Faada, Espai Gos, Udols, Libera and the Franz Weber foundation insist on the risk of fire caused by the use of firecrackers.

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