Barcelona residents flocked to the city’s beaches thereby defying the government’s instructions to stay at home following the Catalan regional government’s decision to go into a ‘voluntary lockdown’.
On Friday, over four million people in the Barcelona metropolitan area, including 1.6million 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.
Yet sunseekers were seen queuing up to get onto the beaches on Saturday despite the concerns raised by the regional government about the increase in cases.
Sunseekers flocked to Barcelona’s beaches on Saturday two days after the Catalonia regional government placed the area back into lockdown due to a rise in coronavirus cases
Residents even queued to get onto the beaches despite being told to stay at home wherever possible by the authorities
Police were forced to close the beaches near Barcelona due to the large number of people congregating in the popular spaces.
Though some officers were caught standing by as many residents profited from the 82F degree (28C) weather that graced the popular Spanish city.
The decision to place Barcelona back into lockdown comes four weeks after Spain ended its state of emergency following 28,400 coronavirus-related deaths in the country which holds 47million people.
Two women look on as Barcelona residents ignore government instructions to stay safe following a rise in cases in the Catalonia and Barcelona regions
Police look on as the beaches become packed with residents on Saturday, though officers did manage to break up large congregations due to the new advice
Nearly 1,300 more 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, which hold 1.6million people, is where most of the new cases have been identified, according to the region’s health department.
Barcelona’s streets were empty on Saturday following the latest call to go back into lockdown.
Gatherings of over 10 people have now been banned while cinemas, theatres and nightclubs have been closed down once again.
Barcelona’s streets were empty over the weekend as the the Catalan regional government decided to put the city into a ‘voluntary lockdown’ to a spike in cases
Popular areas in Barcelona, including the harbour (pictured), saw very few visitors with over four million people told to stay at home where necessary
Beaches in Barcelona (pictured) have also been deserted over the weekend due to the lockdown caused by a second spike in infections
The Catalan government also encouraged people to shop online when possible and restaurants have had to halve the amount of customers they receive.
Spain’s initial lockdown resulted in a major weakening of the economy, with the tourism industry looking to use the good weather over the summer to recoup some of the losses felt by the global pandemic.
Yet the Sagrada Familia, the city’s most famous landmark, welcomed very few tourists on Saturday, with many exciting visitors disappointed to see it closed following the second lockdown this week.
Residents in Barcelona have been told not to leave their homes and must shop online unless for emergencies. Nearly 1,300 more people were confirmed or suspected of carrying the virus in Catalonia on Thursday
Two men wearing face masks walk in the Catalonia square in Barcelona on Saturday following the second lockdown in the region
The city’s La Boqueria market also welcomed very few visitors is a major blow to the Catalan economy
Restaurants and bars in Barcelona were also ordered to welcome only half the usual amount of visitors while cinemas, theatres and nightclubs have been closed down once again
The Sagrada Familia (pictured), one of Barcelona’s major tourist attractions, welcomed very few tourists over the weekend
A possible reason for the empty streets in Barcelona could be the idea that many Barcelona residents chose to leave the city over the weekend to go second homes in areas that are not under lockdown.
The regional government encouraged Barcelona residents not to do this in order to prevent the virus from spreading any further, but traffic authorities revealed the departure of 350,000 vehicles heading for the coast.
Dr Jacobo Mendioroz, Barcelona’s ‘coronavirus chief’, branded this move by residents as a ‘mistake’ and warned that mandatory home confinement could be the next step in the bid to stop the virus from spreading.
Police monitored the streets of Barcelona habour as gatherings of 10 people were banned by the regional government
Residents still opted to take to the Barcelona streets despite the advice to stay in their homes as popular areas such as Las Ramblas (pictured) welcomed visitors wearing face masks
The city of Barcelona holds 1.6million people while the total number of residents in the city’s metropolitan area sits at around four million
The decision to go back into lockdown comes as a blow to Catalonia’s pro-independence regional government, who themselves criticised the central authorities in Madrid for not being better prepared against the virus.
Catalonia and the neighbouring Aragon region, where coronavirus cases have also spiked, are now of most concern to the Spanish authorities, as they watch more than 150 clusters of the virus 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.