The Generalitat has announced the total closure of all bars and restaurants in the Valencian Communityalthough hotels may remain open.

Ximo Puig has advanced this decision minutes before his  appearance today  to announce the new restrictions in Alicante, Valencia and Castellón . Hotels do not close.

The announcement was made following Tuesday’s meeting of the Interdepartmental Committee responsible for monitoring the epidemiological evolution of the pandemic in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellón.

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The president press conference was delayed for very nearly an hour but when he finally appeared behind the rostrum, just before 3pm, he said that further action had now become necessary as the situation is very serious.

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There are now 35 municipalities in the province of Alicante exceeding 1,000 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in addition to which the Valencian Community notified a further 95 deaths since the last update on Saturday, of which 41 were residents in care homes and an additional 2,482 more positive cases. He said that the hospital system was bursting at the seams with 3,829 currently admitted on the wards and in intensive care.

The new measures that the president announced, effective for 15 days starting on Thursday, include the closure of hotels to all but residents, the closure of non essential shops at 6pm, of casinos and of sports centres, although they may still be used by professionals. But the devastating effect, certainly locally, was the announcement of the total closure of bars and restaurants, the only grace being that restaurants may still provide a take away service.

Likewise, cinemas, theatres, school and university canteens, bars or cafeterias located in hotels, may remain open, but only for the exclusive use of patrons or residents. Hospitality establishments located in motorway or main route service areas may also remain open.

All other restrictions in force (closure of the regional border of the Comunidad Valenciana and the maximum of 6 people at meetings) remain in force until January 31st as originally advised, although the 29 municipalities that currently have their borders closed may reopen them.

He added that his intention is to bring forward the curfew at 20:00 although the Government must first allow it by changing the state of alarm.

Puig said that: “Confinement has associated problems and generates inequality in many groups.” “We are not in the same situation that we were in March, although the hospitals are getting worse, but now if we comply with the instructions and continue to wear our masks, the risk of being in an open space has no comparison with March”.

Nevertheless the president agreed that the measures have not been enough, “They have not been enough, in the last week we have seen that the period over Christmas and the entire month of December have caused an intensification of the pandemic and obviously we cannot continue like this. We have to cut drastically the number of contagions that occur with social origin”.

It should be remembered that the Valencia Region is experiencing the worst period of the pandemic so far, with record numbers of hospitalisations, deaths and infections. Yesterday there were 95 deaths reported in the previous 24 hours and hospitalisations have increased by 800 people in a single weekend in Valencian hospitals.

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