THE VALENCIAN GOVERNMENT has responded to rising COVID-19 numbers by introducing changes to the Christmas restrictions that apply to residents and visitors to the Valencian Community over the festive period.
The original public health regulations for the Christmas season were announced just 12 days ago, suggesting a modest relaxation of some of the safety measures including a later curfew for Christmas Eve and New Year´s Eve to allow traditional late-night celebrations to take place.
But with health authorities reporting an increase in transmission of COVID-19 across the Costa Blanca, the President of the Valencian Government, Ximo Puig, announced a raft of new Christmas restrictions yesterday evening.
The previous plan to allow residents and visitors to cross-regional borders to visit family members and close friends has been scrapped.
Instead, the external borders of the Valencian Community will remain closed except for justified reasons such as work commitments or to return to a habitual residence, and festive visits to friends or relatives outside of Alicante, Valencia, or Castellón will not be permitted.
Christmas restrictions, visiting friends and family in Murcia prohibited
In particular, this means it won´t be possible for people on the Orihuela Costa to visit friends or family members in the neighbouring Region of Murcia over the Christmas period.
The borders of the Valencian Community will remain closed and limitations will be in place to control movement both in and out of the autonomous community.
Current public health measures limit social gatherings to 6 people, both in public and private spaces (including private homes), except in the case of those who reside together.
Special rules were originally proposed for key dates over the Christmas and new year period that would increase the limit to 10 people, but yesterday´s announcement reverses the policy.
Further, the new safety measures limit social groups to just two residential households with no exceptions for any festive occasions. This means that meetings between families or friends on Christmas day (or at any other time over the festive season) will be limited to a maximum of 6 people from 2 households.
A tighter curfew, with no Christmas or New Year´s Eve exceptions
The nightly curfew that starts from midnight will be drawn back by one hour to 23:00. Between 23:00 and 6:00 the following day, people must stay at home and cannot be in a public place without a lawful reason.
The curfew was planned to start at 1:30 on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve to allow people to enjoy the festivities, but these exceptions have been removed.
Instead, the curfew will begin one hour later from midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year¡s Eve, and residents are being urged to welcome the new year an hour earlier than usual.
The safety measures were announced by President Ximo Puig and the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló. “We do not like to generate uncertainty or correct the measures we take” stated President Puig, “but we have to adapt to the situation to combat the virus because it would be worse not to do so.”
The new Christmas restrictions are intended to control the spread of the Coronavirus over the forthcoming weeks, and come into force from this Monday 21st December, remaining in effect until Friday 15th January 2021.
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