REGIONAL president Ximo Puig announced today that the main remaining coronavirus restrictions would be removed from Tuesday 22 February.
He said the restrictions could be dropped given the “favourable” evolution of the pandemic and the “substantial” progress of the vaccination programme. However, facemasks will still be necessary at indoor locations and when social distancing cannot be maintained. The ban on smoking in restaurant terraces will also remain in place.
Speaking after the Interdepartmental Covid Prevention and Action meeting today, Monday, he said we were entering a new period in which “vaccination, facemasks and common sense” would be our main defence.
The requirement to present a Covid certificate in all establishments is out, apart from residences and social centres, where he hoped it would be maintained in order to protect the most vulnerable groups. The limit of 10 people at restaurant tables is also gone, as is the 1.5 metre separation between tables in hospitality venues.
The covid passport requirement is due to expire on 28 February and Puig said he would be asking Valencia’s High Court to extend it again for residence and social centres.
Puig, who was accompanied by the regional secretary for Public Health, Isaura Navarro, said that after 700 days since the start of the pandemic we are entering a new period but also insisted that the pandemic “has not finished” which is why we still need to be prudent in the new era of “post-pandemic reactivation”. He also referred to the start of a calendar of fiestas within a framework of practical normality which would help “emotional recovery”.
He also said that there would be special monitoring of Long Covid and the effects on mental health.
As the covid passport steps down and takes somewhat of a backseat, Puig explained that it had encouraged 91,000 unvaccinated people to get jabbed. He also pointed out that the region is above the national average in terms of vaccination in all age groups and almost 10 points ahead in pediatric vaccination. In addition, he said, 96.6% of over 60s and 94.5% of over 70s have already had their booster jab.
Finally, he thanked companies, the self-employed and workers for the help given over the past two years, as well as the “enormous effort” of the 65,894 health workers in the region and the “unity and responsibility” shown by the Valencian population.