A man wearing a protective face mask cleans tables at a restaurant, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Madrid, Spain, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera
MADRID (Reuters) – Madrid’s coronavirus lockdown will be eased on Monday to allow outdoor dining and gatherings of up to 10 people, as the rate of infection there has slowed, the regional health department said on Friday.
The restrictions in the capital will now be the same as in most of the Spanish mainland, which started relaxing the lockdown early this month. Both Madrid and Barcelona, Spain’s second city, had been kept in full lockdown because their outbreaks were so severe.
The state-owned TV channel TVE said Barcelona’s restrictions would be similarly eased. Beaches there were opened for walking this week, but public swimming and sunbathing remain banned.
Bars and restaurants in the capital will be allowed to reopen on pavements and terraces from Monday, churches will also reopen, and people will be free to travel within the province.
The lockdown is due to be eased one notch further in other regions. The sparsely populated Canary Islands of La Graciosa, El Hierro and La Gomera, as well as Formentera in the Balearics, were freed from most restrictions on Monday.
Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro; editing by Andrei Khalip and Kevin Liffey