The Generalitat has announced the lifting of the last major health restrictions due to the pandemic with the agreement at Monday’s interdepartmental commission to remove the obligation to request the covid-19 passport, except in nursing homes and social centers for the elderly, with effect from midnight on Monday night / Tuesday morning, 21 / 22 February.

However, the use of masks indoors, or outdoors where there are crowds, and the ban of smoking on terraces, are maintained.

“The pandemic is not over, but tomorrow (Tuesday) a new era begins. It is time for an economic, social and emotional revival.” With these words, President Ximo Puig announced on Monday the end of the major health restrictions that still remained.

Following the Interdepartmental Commission, he explained that the obligation to request covid-19 passports is no longer required, except in nursing homes and social centers for the elderly, where he said that he will request the courts to extend the permit to require them beyond the 28th of February, which is the date when the current permission ends.

Likewise, the restrictions of a maximum of ten people at the tables, or the separation of 1.5 meters between them, will no longer be required in the hotel industry. However, the mandatory use of masks indoors, or outdoors where there are crowds, together with the continued ban of smoking on terraces is maintained.

The regional secretary, Isaura Navarro, said “On the terraces, people are very close to each other and smoking poses a greater risk. It is good that people are now used to it and move away to smoke otherwise we would all become passive smokers which would increase the risk of contagion.”

Restrictions on large concerts are also ending and there is a return to pre-pandemic capacity limitations although, as the Ministry of Health insists, the mask is mandatory indoors and in crowds. It is also required for dancing, with the only exception whilst eating or drinking.

Navarro said that the removal of masks indoors is not currently being considered in any area, not even in schools. “We would all like to take off our masks, but we can’t take the risk.”

Ximo Puig added that vaccination in the Valencian Community is above the Spanish average in all age groups, and in the case of the most vulnerable groups it has reached 96.6%, ten points above the national average.

“After 700 days, a new era begins, a new time. We have done what each stage required with the will to succeed but with humility”, he said. “There will not be a restriction that lasts longer than is necessary.”

Puig stressed, however, that he is asking for co-responsibility in the face of the popular festivals that will soon be upon us and that he has said that he hopes that they can be celebrated with the ” maximum normality” possible within the current situation.

When asked about Easter, the Fallas and the Magdalena, Puig said that the use of masks in crowds is mandatory: “It is prudent to maintain this measure,” he said.