By Tony Winterburn • 23 December 2020 • 19:56
Catalan Government Agrees on €43 Million Aid Package For Cerdanya and Ripollès.
The Catalan Government has agreed on a €43 Million Aid Package for the two counties recently forced into lockdown. Catalonia’s Cerdanya and Ripollès have been in lockdown since last night, the authorities announced the restriction in a last-minute press conference on Tuesday evening, Dec.22. The two counties had already asked for “urgent” government aid to face the economic loss of the lockdown enforced so close to Christmas.
People are only allowed to enter and leave these counties for work, health reasons, to care for dependents, schooling, or reasons of force majeure from December 23 to at least January 6. In addition to this, restaurants must remain shut, as is also the case of indoor sports centres and cultural venues excluding museums and libraries
In these mountainous regions, where many ‘urbanites’ have second homes, especially in Cerdanya, and where visitors flock to in the winter to make the most of the ski season, these measures are likely to deal a severe economic blow to a number of businesses.
Indeed, restaurant owners and workers in Cerdanya took to the streets of Puigcerdà, near the French border, to protest the lockdown on the first day it was in effect. “There are entire families that live off of this,” lamented Nativitat Bover, the president of Cerdanya’s bars and restaurants association, calling the lockdown “outrageous.”
The recently imposed severe restrictions come as the outbreak risk in Cerdanya is 3,521 and that of Ripollès is 1,907—well above the average of Catalonia as a whole, which currently stands at 349. Health authorities already consider an outbreak risk of over 100 to be ‘high’.
Other figures are considerably worse in these counties, where hospitals are already under increased pressure, including the number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days: 1,223 in Cerdanya and 802 in Ripollès compared to Catalonia’s 280.14.
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