The Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, recovers this year the New Year’s Eve celebration, canceled in 2020, despite the increase in coronavirus infections, because, according to the Ministry of Health, the organizational proposal of the City Council of the capital “has all the security measures against COVID-19.” Thus, the capacity of the square will be restricted to 7,000 people (less than half of the normal than in pre-ndemic times) and the use of a mask will be mandatory.
By reducing capacity by more than 60% compared to the 18,000 people who were admitted in 2019, the City Council estimates that interpersonal distance can be guaranteed at all times. Attendees will have a usable area of 9,500 square meters in the square.
The police device will have four filters that will be established at different access points to the square (Mayor, Arenal, Alcalá and Carrera de San Jerónimo streets). Two of them will be controlled by the Municipal Police and the other two by the National Police.
How to access the square
The Pedestrian access to Puerta del Sol will be cut off at 9:00 p.m. and will proceed to the eviction of the square. Then, at 10 pm, attendees will begin to be allowed access to the bells, until full capacity is reached. There will also be detours and traffic cuts in the area from 8:30 p.m., and Sol stations (Metro and Cercanías) will close from 9:00 p.m.
Samur-Civil Protection will collaborate in the filters, to give the number of people who are in the perimeter of the celebrations. In addition, there will be ‘pre-filters’ in the vicinity of Puerta del Sol, and Signs will be installed informing that the capacity has been completed so that no one else accesses the square. The illuminated information panels on Preciados and Carmen streets will also be used, if necessary.
In Puerta del Sol itself, a limited space will be set up for attendees with reduced mobility, who will be able to enter through Esparteros Street, as well as a security corridor to guarantee the movement of vehicles and people in case of emergency.
These same measures have already been used this Thursday during the celebration of the so-called ‘preuvas’.
The authorities ask for prudence
The authorities have asked those attending the celebration to behave with prudence and comply “strictly” with the established standards.
The mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida (PP), admitted this Thursday in a radio interview that “he would not go” to New Year’s Eve, although he has defended that the event be held. “In the first place because, obviously, there is neither a scenario nor a framework of restrictions still established, and, therefore, I believe that as far as possible we have to continue with that policy that has been promoted by the administrations of Madrid to throughout the entire pandemic ”, he argued.
For his part, the Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero (PP), has indicated that the decision to go to Puerta del Sol is “very personal”, but we must not forget that it is a “large, open-air” space .