Fines of up to £13,500 for drinking alcohol outside in Barcelona amid spike in Spain coronavirus cases

Barcelona beach
Barcelona wants to crackdown on social gatherings, so the spread of coronavirus stops. Credit: AP

Catalonia has introduced fines of up to £13,500 for anyone caught drinking alcohol in the streets, after a spike in coronavirus cases resulted in several countries advising against travel to the region.

Last week Catalonia's regional government ordered nightclubs to shut, in order to stem a spike in outbreaks, but that resulted in young people gathering and drinking at outdoor locations.

Since the crackdown on nightclubs last week, more 7,000 people have been infected in Barcelona.

As such, a crackdown on street parties was introduced on Tuesday, allowing police to issue fines from €3,000 (£2,718) to €15,000 (£13,500) for anyone caught drinking outdoors in Barcelona or anywhere else in Catalonia.

Regional government spokesman Meritxell Budó said the measure banning alcohol consumption outside licensed venues takes effect Tuesday.

Catalonia president Quim Torra told of his concern at the coronavirus situation in his region, suggesting a total lockdown could follow in ten days time if people did not begin to "correct this situation".

Catalonians are hoping they can avoid a return to a full lockdown after restrictions were lifted last month. Credit: AP

"We’re facing the 10 most important days of this summer. Ten days to know if with a new collective effort we are capable of beginning to correct this situation.

"Everything depends on the next 10 days."

He added: "If we don’t correct this situation, we’ll have to take a step backwards."

Meanwhile, Madrid’s regional government made face coverings mandatory in all public areas and limited public gatherings to no more than 10 people, while nightlife venues must close their doors at 1 a.m. — early by Spanish standards.

Spain lifted its national lockdown on June 21 and several regional spikes have followed.

After Spain's deputy chief of health emergencies said the country could "already" be in a second wave of coronavirus following a spike in cases, several countries around Europe, including the UK, reacted by advising against travel to the region.

The UK's guidance is the most strict, with the Foreign Commonwealth Office advising against all but essential travel to all of Spain, including its less-affected islands.

Anyone returning from there to the UK must self-isolate for 14 days.

Norway has ordered a 10-day quarantine for returnees from Catalonia, while France is advising its citizens to avoid traveling to the region.

Germany also tightened its travel advice for Spain, with it advising against travel to the northeastern regions of Catalonia, Aragón, and Navarra.

Boris Johnson defended his strict quarantine policy, saying there are "signs of a second wave" in much of Europe.

The prime minister, during a visit to Nottinghamshire on Tuesday, said: "Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic."

He added how ministers have to take "swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again".

Which is why, he said, he was forced to remove Spain from the UK's safe list of destinations.