Spaniards showed they’ve enough of their country’s 11 p.m. coronavirus curfew by going out by the hundreds when it was lifted early Sunday.
People were captured on video swarming the beaches in Barcelona and the streets in Madrid, as the curfew was canceled at midnight in 13 of Spain’s 17 regions. Many revelers ditched social distancing and masks and gathered in groups of more than six, according to CNN. It was in violation of pandemic restrictions that the country kept in place.
During the last hours of the curfew on Saturday night, police patrolling a Barcelona beach called out crowds using a loudspeaker. “It’s forbidden to gather in groups of more than six people, please leave the beach,” the cops said. In Madrid, police pushed partiers who were dancing and singing out of the Puerta del Sol square.
“Large crowds have occurred in large cities like Barcelona or Madrid,” said Oriol Estival, 22, from the village of Sant Celoni about 30 miles from Barcelona. “People know the places where there are no police.”
On Friday when the curfew was still in effect, large groups of people drank in the Ciutadella past 10 p.m.
“Is there really a need to be gathering in groups of 100 people or more in parks?” said biomedical researcher Natalia Pardo Lorente with the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona. “Why is it not enough to meet your close friends and that’s it?”
Spain’s second state of emergency started in October and included a late-night curfew across the nation and restrictions on social gatherings and travel within the country. It was less restrictive than the stay-at-home order at the beginning of the pandemic.
The country has 198 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, but some regions have a rate above that. Nearly 28 percent of the population, or 13.2 million, have had at least one coronavirus vaccine dose as of Friday. And 12.6 percent of Spaniards are fully vaccinated.
Like many countries around the world, Spain is reopening. Last month, the country’s tourism minister Reyes Maroto announced that the famous party island, Ibiza, will be open to tourists in June.