The traditional bells of Puerta del Sol are in danger on the second Christmas of the pandemic. The uncertainty of the current health situation and the slight upturn in cases has led the Madrid City Council to not specify yet whether or not there will be a popular celebration in the place where the Spanish look when it comes to eating the grapes on New Year’s Eve. Among the options that the consistory values is that of not allowing public access to the square if there were “a significant rebound in Covid-19” in Madrid, explained the security delegate and municipal spokesperson, Inmaculada Sanz.
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The City Council believes that in the current sanitary conditions “we understand that the celebration of the chimes could indeed take place”. “If the health circumstances change and there is a rebound, it would be necessary to rethink it,” Sanz pointed out before clarifying that “it is something that we are going to talk about in the coming weeks with the Ministry of Health of the Community of Madrid.”
Another option that is being studied from the consistory is to establish “smaller capacity” than those of the pre-pandemic years to be able to celebrate a New Year’s Eve in conditions of “relative normality”. “We are going to see how things evolve” – the spokeswoman has pointed out – “there are still a few weeks until December 31”.
The doubts about the bells come when the Madrid City Council has presented the Municipal Police device to control capacity and security throughout the Christmas season, which this year will begin on Friday, November 26 due to the celebration of Black Friday and will be It will run until Sunday, January 9, 2022. 402 agents will be part of it from Monday to Thursday and 726 each weekend, among which there will be a special anti-theft group of plainclothes policemen.
The agents will try to avoid crowds and will monitor compliance with preventive measures such as the mandatory use of a mask if the safety distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained. “The regulations are clear and the Municipal Police will enforce it in its entirety,” said Sanz, who believes that masks will be essential outdoors in places with a large influx of people.
A single access to Sol with great influx
As every year, the Municipal Police may limit access to the streets of Preciados and Carmen and set a one-way pedestrian if necessary, for which fixed panels will be used to inform both the direction of the pedestrian march and other messages. As soon as they are activated, Preciados will become an uphill street from Sol and it will not be accessible from Callao. Calle del Carmen will be downhill and will work in reverse. Once inside Preciados or Carmen street, you can go to one or the other through the transversal roads.
The Madrid City Council reserves the possibility of cutting off the entry of people into central areas where large crowds can occur. Previously, the operational chief would assess the installation of filters, access control or the implementation of a single pedestrian direction in the accesses to the streets that could be particularly affected, details the consistory in a press release. In Sol the Metro and Cercanías stops could also be suppressed at this time.
The Municipal Police will increase security in all points and districts of the city with a large influx of people, especially in shopping centers and where markets, attractions and Christmas facilities are held. Among them, the consistory cites La Vaguada, Plenilunio, Islazul, Aluche, Sanchinarro, La Gavia, Príncipe Pío, Las Rosas, Gran Vía de Hortaleza, Méndez Álvaro and Plaza Río 2.