Madrid goes under second lockdown

The Spanish capital Madrid will become the first European capital from Friday night to head back into lockdown because of the explosion in coronavirus cases.

The lockdown affects some 4.8 million Madrid residents.

They will be barred from leaving the area.

Restaurants and bars in the Spanish capital and nine satellite towns will shut early and slash capacity by half in what has again become Europe’s worst infection hotspot.

The new restrictions, to start at 10 pm (2000 GMT), are not as strict as the previous lockdown from March, when people were barred from leaving their homes.

However, authorities advised residents not to move around unless absolutely necessary.

“Madrilenos” were exasperated at political wrangling between the central and regional governments, and anxious about whether the measures would work.

“We have been eight months with masks and without nightclubs and parties, and there is still contagion. Then what kind of impact will these restrictions make?,” said Sonny van den Holstein, owner of Sanissimo restaurant.

“People are confused, they hesitate to go out … they are in fear,” he said, as a customer called to cancel a reservation.

The conservative-led Madrid area authority reluctantly complied with the order from the Socialist-led central government to ban travel except for school, work, health or shopping.

Famous for its late-night carousing and usually lively tourist flow, Madrid’s bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m. instead of a previous 1 a.m curfew, while restaurants, gyms and shops are having capacity cut by half.

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