Madrid to Remove Most of its Restrictions on Monday

Madrid will remove most of its pandemic restrictions on Monday amid a general easing of lockdown rules in Spain after the country’s coronavirus infection rate fell to its lowest level in more than a year.

Restaurants and bars in Spain’s capital region will be allowed to stay open as late as their licenses allow, while shopping malls, cinemas and theaters will no longer have to apply capacity limits. Only a few restrictions will remain in Madrid, including limits on party sizes at restaurants — 10 per outdoor table, up from eight — and a 75 percent capacity limit at nightclubs.

This past week, Spain’s 14-day infection rate fell below 100 registered cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the lowest since August 2020. The latest figures come after the infection rate reached almost 700 in July, before falling to 400 last month.

Most experts attribute the improvement to the speeding up of Spain’s vaccination campaign, which allowed the government to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70 percent of the population by the end of August. As of Friday, 35.8 million residents, more than 75 percent of the population, had been fully vaccinated, giving Spain one of the largest vaccinated populations in Europe.

Tourism in Spain, which has maintained only limited travel restrictions over the summer, is also expected to increase after London’s decision this past week to stop forcing vaccinated visitors to test for Covid-19 before returning to Britain. The switch, which comes into force on Oct. 4, also benefits some other European countries that are heavily dependent on British tourists, such as France, Italy and Portugal.