Saturday, October 10, 2020

COVID-19 regulations: Canary Islands prohibit smoking while walking on public roads

Smoking is expressly prohibited while walking on public roads

The Governing Council in its session on Thursday, October 8, approved a Government Agreement that adapts some regulations related to the containment of COVID-19, which entered into force after its publication in the Boletín Oficial de Canarias (BOC) on Friday.

Among other points, it establishes the obligation to wear a hygienic or surgical mask when visiting health centers. The agreement also establishes the prohibition of smoking while traveling on public roads as it is not possible to guarantee the maintenance of the safety distance. [Obviously, this is because you need to remove the mask to smoke, which increases the risk of transmission]. The Boletin wording states: 
2.1.12. (PDF) It is not permitted to smoke, use tobacco inhalation devices, water pipes, hookahs, shisha or similar on public roads and in outdoor spaces, always that [when?] it is not possible to guarantee the maintenance of an interpersonal safety distance of 2 meters.

Regarding events, the government agreement recalls that the celebration of the same will be conditioned by the epidemiological situation on the island on the scheduled date and that it is the event organizer who must consult the public information available. 

Likewise, the Government recalls that events may not be held on islands that are classified as high transmission. For these purposes, islands with a high level of transmission will be considered those in which the cumulative incidence of cases diagnosed in the last 7 days, presents each and every one of the following criteria: 1) that the island exceeds 50 cases / 100,000 inhabitants ; 2) that any municipality on the island exceeds 100 cases / 100,000 inhabitants, has more than 2 sporadic cases and presents an increase equal to or greater than 10% compared to the average of the accumulated incidents of the previous two weeks.

The cumulative incidence of cases diagnosed in the last 7 days will be evaluated weekly by the General Directorate of Public Health and will be published on the website "Portal Covid" of the Government of the Canary Islands.

On islands with a high level of transmission, mass events in which more than 10 people participate will not be allowed or authorized, except those carried out in accordance with the strict security measures established in the Government Agreement and without prejudice to any possible modifications depending on epidemiological circumstances and the restaurants must close at 00:00 hours. Remember that ordinary scheduled public cultural activities and federated sports competitions held without the public are exempt from these restrictions.

Canarias prohíbe fumar mientras se camina por la vía pública

NOTE: The news report suggests that smoking is expressly prohibited on public roads (i.e. outside in any public area) at all times and, I wouldn't be surprised if that were the way it gets interpreted, especially in urban areas. The wording of the official Boletin, however, reads more like smoking is prohibited on public roads only when you can't guarantee the 2 meter safety distance. In practice, of course, you never know when someone else might encroach into your 2 meter 'bubble' and render you to be in breach of the regulation. And for 'walking' or 'travelling', you can be sure they also mean 'standing' or just 'being'. In other words, the only places left where smoking is allowed are in your own home or garden.

Oh and don't shout at someone for smoking in public when they do have a 2 meter gap around them, because, strictly, that appears to be perfectly legal.