The Basque Government order that urges municipalities with a covid incidence rate of more than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants to “temporarily suspend or postpone” activities in which compliance with preventive measures against coronavirus cannot be guaranteed It has come into force this Wednesday, after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Basque Country (BOPV).
The order includes the measures announced this past Tuesday by the Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, against the increase in the number of infections by covid that has been registered in recent weeks in the Basque Country, which has placed the accumulated incidence rate in 14 days in 196 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
In addition to maintaining the measures that were not withdrawn on October 6 (such as the mandatory use of the mask indoors and outdoors when the safety distance cannot be maintained), the new order establishes other additional guidelines, “within the necessary respect for the powers of other public administrations and the measures that, in the exercise of such powers, they adopt”.
In this way, it determines “to suspend or postpone temporarily, while the municipality remains in a situation of incidence greater than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the celebration of all those activities, regardless of their scope, in which the municipal authorities foresee that compliance with preventive measures cannot be guaranteed provided for in the annex to the Order of October 6, 2021 “.
In the order published this Wednesday it is specified that “the events or activities in which it is more difficult to guarantee compliance with basic preventive measures, especially the use of a mask, are those in which the intake of food or beverages“.
– In those events that are organized while maintaining preventive measures, both indoors and outdoors, it is advisable to reinforce measures of distancing that avoid crowds and promote dispersal of the public. It will be sought:
– Increase the space for the public in those places where concentrations are foreseen.
– Establish transit corridors to facilitate the orderly flow of people.
– Delimit the spaces destined for the sale and consumption of food and beverages.
– Whenever possible, it will be sought organize activities abroad. Outdoor activities are the safest. The risk of contracting or transmitting covid-19 is greater in closed spaces and with many people.
The order also states that the website of the Department of Health will disclose twice a week the relationship of the rates by municipality, based on which it will be determined which locations are affected by the order.
The municipalities must inform the citizens of the situation of the locality and disseminate the preventive measures that must be followed while the situation of high transmission is maintained.
Guidelines and Recommendations
In addition, the norm published this Wednesday includes an annex of ‘Guidelines aimed at citizens of municipalities with high transmission of covid-19‘.
This annex indicates that in the localities that are in this situation, “in addition to general preventive measures, it is necessary to take additional measures to reduce the transmission” of covid.
1.– Getting vaccinated is the best protection. Vaccinated people who become infected have been shown to have milder symptoms, and hospitalization and death are reduced.
2.– Use of a mask. The use of a mask is always mandatory in indoor spaces for public use, and in outdoor spaces when a distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained. In hotel and catering establishments and services, the use of the mask is mandatory except at the time of ingestion.
3.– Hand hygiene. Frequent hand hygiene with soap and water or hydroalcoholic solutions is recommended.
4.– Ventilation of interior spaces. Ventilating involves renewing the air, that is, replacing the potentially polluted indoor air with outdoor air. This is important when you have indoor meetings with people you don’t live with. Whenever possible, natural ventilation will be carried out, opening windows or doors on opposite walls. If ventilation is forced, the intake of outside air must be maximized and air recirculation avoided.
5.– Maintain social encounters abroad. Outdoor activities are the safest. If it is impossible to keep them outside, try to postpone them, and if it is not possible and they are done indoors, ensure ventilation and correct use of the mask
6.– Avoid crowds of people.
7.– People with compatible symptoms of covid-19 and possible contacts of cases.
People with compatible symptoms of covid-19 (fever, cough, respiratory distress …) or who suspect that they are close contact of a positive case, should not participate in any activity or social event. They should isolate themselves, use a surgical mask and contact the health services and follow their instructions. Before the appearance of symptoms compatible with covid-19, contact your health center or the Health Council on the telephone number 900 20 30 50.
8.– The risk of contracting or transmitting SARS-CoV-2, although to a lesser degree, continues to exist even with the complete vaccination schedule. It is therefore essential that, even being vaccinated, you follow the preventive guidelines mentioned to protect yourself and your loved ones and the rest of the population.
The Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu has reminded the municipalities that although, the prevention and containment measures of the covid-19 are shared with the entire institutional architecture, that is, the Government, county councils and municipalities, “each of them is responsible for managing what is its scope competence “.
The Lehendakari has been asked this morning about the reaction of some municipalities that, after learning that the responsibility for maintaining or suspending mass activities falls on the municipalities themselves, have shown their disagreement.
Some municipalities have begun to take action on events scheduled in their municipalities for the next few days.
Thus, Tolosa has suspended the Bean Festival that was going to be held this weekend, “out of prudence and responsibility” given the evolution of the pandemic.
The Murgia City Council has decided to cancel, for its part, this weekend’s festivities, which, although they were to be held in September, had been rescheduled for this weekend.
Tolosa and Murgia are just two examples, and it remains to be seen what will happen with the Santa Lucia fair in Urretxu-Zumarraga, the San Andrés fair in Eibar, the Durango book fair, or the Santo Tomás fair in Bilbao and San Sebastián, to name a few events.