Restrictions on movement have been tightened across Spain as communities reacted to the possible fallout from a New Year’s rave that stretched for more than 40 hours and drew in hundreds of partygoers despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The new rules in parts of Madrid and Gibraltar respond to potential worry about the further spread of the virus after a gathering of so many people without health precautions.
State broadcaster RTVE reported on Sunday that “growing laxness about following health guidelines means we should be worried about a deterioration in the situation.”
Criticism was not limited to the ravers, who were packed into an impromptu warehouse club without masks during the party: Many also want to know why it took police so long to shut down the party in an industrial area of Llinars del Valles, which lies near Barcelona.
Owners of the country’s discotheques, which were shuttered through much of 2020, are especially enraged that the rave operators managed to get away with it for so long, reported newspaper La Vanguardia.
Two people have been detained since the party was broken up, and there are ongoing investigations involving five. Furthermore, police recorded the personal information of 214 people at the party, reported La Vanguardia.
Violating laws against social-distancing and wearing masks can result in fines of between 1,500 and 600,000 euros though there have been no reports of fines being levied towards the higher end of the spectrum.
In the wake of the party, Madrid’s regional government reported tighter restrictions on 23 zones, meaning residents can only leave their homes to go to work or the doctor.
Regional Health Minister Enrique Ruiz Escudero also called on officials to enforce the guidelines more strictly.
Similar guidelines went into effect in eight zones in Gibraltar, and additional restrictions were reported in Aragon, Castilla and Leon.
The most recent coronavirus numbers out of Spain showed about 132 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents for the past seven days. Spain was one of the European nations worst-hit by the disease in 2020, with more than 50,000 deaths recorded to date.