Madrid, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- Spain ended another unusual Holy Week on an Easter Sunday marked by the absence of the large traditional religious gatherings and processions in streets across the country that are normally held at this time of year.
The pandemic has also forced the usual trips to the beach and other domestic tourist destinations to be cancelled, as authorities try to avoid a fourth wave of Covid-19.
Although there were celebrations inside churches, unlike in 2020 when the country was under a stricter lockdown to get to grips with the beginning of the pandemic, Easter Week was spent with heavy restrictions on domestic travel, social gatherings and nocturnal activity.
These limitations entailed yet another setback for tourism, the main economic engine of the country accounting for 12 percent of Spain’s GDP, on a holiday which would normally see millions of foreign tourists visit.
Before the pandemic, Holy Week in Spain was marked with massive events such as traditional processions of religious icons through the streets, and trips to tourist destinations, especially to the coast, for the long weekend.
But this year the authorities have banned non-essential travel between the country’s regions; religious events could only be held inside churches and with limited seating; social gatherings were restricted to a maximum of six people in the street, and a curfew was in force from 10pm.
Despite the bans and the tough penalties, some illegal parties in streets, homes and bars at hours when they should have been closed were held.
The nearly 64,200 police officers deployed in an exceptional operation to control compliance with these measures issued thousands of complaints to those who defied the travel restrictions.
The tourism sector, which last year suffered a drop in turnover of close to 70 percent with losses in the millions, has had some minor relief with the arrival of a small number of foreigners, a sore point with many Spaniards who are banned from leaving their communities while the country’s external borders remain open.
Spain is at high risk due to coronavirus, having slightly exceeded 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants of accumulated incidence in the last fourteen days.