The residents of Madrid ad Barcelona are eagerly looking forward to the opening of parks, museums, churches, and outdoor seating bars this week, as Spain is getting ready to ease a few of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe in its capital and the second city.
In Madrid, where for two weeks authorities have begun to let runners and cyclists out for exercise for a few hours in the morning and evening, graphic designer Jimena Ruiz jogged near the wrought iron fence of Retiro park, still shut with a chain. "I can't wait for it," she said wistfully. "I'm really looking forward to running, sunbathing and sitting by the fountains."
Sapin to Further Lift Coronavirus Restrictions
Spain is now in the third month of its national emergency, having endured one of the largest per capita death tolls in the world from the coronavirus, which hit hardest in Madrid. Madrid and Barcelona will follow other areas of the country where the lockdown has already been eased further. Bars will be allowed to open terraces at 50 percent capacity and people will be permitted to meet in groups of a maximum of 10.
Madrid's main hospitality organization told newspaper Cinco Dias this week it expected only around 10 percent of terraces to open in the city. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday announced Spain would reopen its borders to international tourism from July. Tourism accounts for more than 12 percent of Spain's economic output. Spain has so-far recorded more than 28,000 deaths from coronavirus and 235,000 cases.
The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world claiming the lives of more than 340,000 people globally and infecting over 5.3 million people worldwide in over 170 countries.
(With agency inputs)