Residents of Barcelona flocked to the city’s beaches, defying the government’s instructions to stay home following the Catalan regional government’s decision to enter into a ‘voluntary shutdown’.
On Friday, more than four million people in the Barcelona metropolitan area, including 1.6 million in the city itself, were asked to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to go out due to a spike in coronavirus infections.
Still, sun seekers were seen lining up to hit the beaches on Saturday, despite regional government concerns about the increase in the number of cases.
Sunseekers flocked to the beaches of Barcelona on Saturday, two days after the Catalan regional government closed the area again due to an increase in coronavirus cases
Residents even lined up to go to the beaches, despite authorities telling them to stay at home whenever possible
Police were forced to close the beaches near Barcelona due to the large number of people gathered in the popular areas.
Although some officers were caught because so many residents took advantage of the 82F degrees (28C) weather that graced the popular Spanish city.
The decision to re-lock Barcelona comes four weeks after Spain ended a state of emergency following 28,400 coronavirus-related deaths in the country of 47 million people.
Two women watch as residents of Barcelona ignore government instructions to stay safe after an increase in cases in the regions of Catalonia and Barcelona
Police watch as beaches saturate with residents on Saturday, although officers have managed to cut major municipalities because of new advice
Nearly 1,300 people were confirmed or suspected of carrying the virus in Catalonia on Thursday, the highest number of daily infections in weeks.
The city of Barcelona, with a population of 1.6 million, is where most of the new cases have been identified, according to the health department of the region.
The streets of Barcelona were empty on Saturday after the last call to return to a closed space.
Gatherings of more than ten people are now banned and cinemas, theaters and night clubs are closed again.
The streets of Barcelona were empty on the weekend when the Catalan regional government decided to peak the city in cases of ‘voluntary closure’
Popular areas in Barcelona, including the port (pictured), saw very few visitors with over four million people who had to stay at home where necessary
Beaches in Barcelona (photo) are also deserted on weekends due to the closure caused by a second spike in infections
The Catalan government also encouraged people to shop online whenever possible, and restaurants have had to halve the number of customers they receive.
Spain’s initial freeze resulted in a sharp weakening of the economy, with the tourism industry seeking to use the good weather of summer to recoup some of the losses from the global pandemic.
But the Sagrada Familia, the city’s most famous landmark, welcomed very few tourists on Saturday, and many exciting visitors were disappointed that they closed after the second closing this week.
Residents of Barcelona have been told not to leave their homes and to shop online unless in an emergency. Nearly 1,300 people were confirmed or suspected of carrying the virus in Catalonia on Thursday
Two men with face masks walk on Barcelona’s Catalonia Square on Saturday after the region’s second closure
The city’s La Boqueria market also welcomed very few visitors, which is a major blow to the Catalan economy
Restaurants and bars in Barcelona were also ordered to welcome only half of the usual number of visitors, while cinemas, theaters and nightclubs have been closed again
One of Barcelona’s major tourist attractions, the Sagrada Familia (pictured) welcomed very few tourists this weekend
A possible reason for the empty streets in Barcelona could be the idea that many Barcelona residents chose to leave the city this weekend to move to second homes in areas that aren’t closed.
The regional government encouraged residents of Barcelona not to do this to prevent the virus from spreading, but traffic authorities revealed the departure of 350,000 vehicles headed for the coast.
Dr. Jacobo Mendioroz, Barcelona’s ‘coronavirus chief’, labeled this movement as a ‘mistake’ by residents and warned that compulsory house confinement could be the next step in trying to stem the spread of the virus .
Police supervised the streets of the port of Barcelona, as meetings of ten people were banned by the regional government
Residents still chose to take to the streets of Barcelona despite the advice to stay in their homes as popular areas such as Las Ramblas (photo) welcomed visitors with face masks
The city of Barcelona has 1.6 million inhabitants, while the total population in the metropolitan area is around four million
The decision to get back in prison comes as a blow to the Catalan pro-independent regional government, which itself criticized the central authorities in Madrid for not being better prepared for the virus.
Catalonia and the neighboring region of Aragon, where cases of coronavirus have also increased, are now the most worrying Spanish authorities, as they view more than 150 virus clusters across the country.
In total, Catalonia has seen 79,595 coronavirus infections and 6,913 deaths, out of a nationwide total of nearly 259,000 cases and 28,416 deaths.