Story By: Lisa-Maria Goertz, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
The regional government of Catalonia in Spain has decided to open its nightclubs but has imposed a ban on dancing unless you reserve the whole dancefloor for a closed group of people who already have close contact.
The government has been criticised by nightclub owners in the eastern Spanish region of Catalonia for the new directive.
The government had originally declared that nightclubs could open, but three days later shared the new rules which prohibit the use of dance floors in nightclubs, unless they are used to put tables on, separated by the minimum safety distance where people who know each other can sit and have a drink.
In restaurants and hotels which have dance floors, the only way people can have a dance is by reserving the whole dance floor for a group of people who already “have regular contact” and give a list of people coming beforehand to be checked off as they arrive, according to the regulations.
According to local media, some nightclubs had already opened and were using their dancefloors when the new dance ban was published.
Many others have reportedly decided to not open until the dancing ban, which also applies to outdoor spaces and public celebrations, has lifted.
The President of the National Federation of Nightlife, Ramon Mas told local media: “If we can’t dance, we can’t open. We are what we are, not a bar, not a restaurant, a nightclub. It is like going to the Opera and there not being any music.”
Mas warns that this decision will only impulse more illegal gatherings on the streets to drink and party, in Spain these kinds of gatherings are called ‘botellons’.
Mas said: “Already more than 4,000 illegal parties and hundreds of botellons and house parties have been detected.”
Entrepreneur and nightclub owner Joaquim Boadas also opposed the idea of only letting people who know each other dance together, saying: “Knowing the level of relations between one person and another impacts their privacy and an entrepreneur cannot be a part of that.
“Once the government makes the decision to permit the use of dance floors, it is an error to go back on that decision and more so without even giving an explanation.
“You can’t change an agreed criteria and then just let us find out that it’s changed by reading the news.”
Spain is gradually lifting its strict quarantine measures and the population is still obliged to wear face masks in any kind of shop or establishment, including when partying.
In nightclubs, one-third of capacity is allowed inside the establishment and 75 per cent on a terrace with 1.5 metres distance (5 feet) between people who are strangers.