Sunday, January 16

The Municipal Police are studying to halve the capacity of the Bells in Puerta del Sol


MADRID

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On the night of December 31, Puerta del Sol, beyond Madrid, will once again be the epicenter of one of the most magical moments of the year: thousands of people will be able to follow from there the Chimes that will announce the arrival of 2022 and leave thus a 2021 that is ending and that many want to forget. The coronavirus pandemic forced last New Year’s Eve to suspend the celebration at Kilometer 0, taking into account the situation of infections, restrictions and the curfew imposed then. Of course, it will be with much fewer people than those gathered in the pre-Covid-19 era.

For this reason, the device that the Municipal Police prepares to resume this deeply rooted tradition in Spain and which brings together thousands of locals and visitors is being taken care of to the maximum.

One of the biggest unknowns is how many people will be allowed in the square during that turn of the year. The municipal delegate for Security and Emergencies and spokesperson for the local government, Inmaculada Sanz, announced yesterday that the capacity will be “much lower” than on previous occasions. If the average is 16,000 / 18,000 attendees (four years ago it was lowered from 25,000 to 20,000, approximately), we are working on establishing a more or less concrete figure.

Police sources speak that it could be around half. They are taking into account the available space by subtracting the urban furniture (both fixed and ephemeral, in case a special element is installed for that night; and other elements, such as the decorations themselves for these dates (a huge Christmas tree, the Sol interchange, tobacconists, kiosks, the central fountain and, of course, the passages for vehicles and emergency exits).

Mask if there is no distance

Other more cautious sources recall that the number of people is yet to be decided, being approximately those around 9,000-10,000 that would be half. In a few days, in a fixed way, you should have that specific data. “Different percentages of occupation are being handled,” adds another informant.

What is clear is that the premise is that the current Covid regulations be complied with. And this last nuance is important because anything can happen, with the incidence of infections rising, although, based on what has been said so far from the Community of Madrid, no further restrictions are foreseen now.

In this sense, The fundamental thing is to maintain a safety distance of one and a half meters between people in the open air if they do not wear a mask; In the event that it cannot be kept, the use of a mask will be mandatory, as in any situation on the street. In closed rooms, this protective element is still mandatory. What cannot be done, sources of the device clarify, is to prohibit the celebration of the Chimes, but to restrict the capacity of the emblematic public space.

Filters on ten streets

For this reason, the entire perimeter will be fenced off and filters will be established in the ten entrances to the square (Calle de las Carretas, Correo, Mayor, Arenal, Carmen, Preciados, Montera, Alcalá, Espoz and Mina and Carrera de San Jerónimo). There, the special reinforcement of Municipal Police officers will watch so that no one brings alcohol or bottles or crystal glasses to the place; in addition to controlling the number of people. For this entire security plan, the Drones Unit of the local Corps, as it already happened, in a pioneering way, on New Year’s Eve last year.

A celebration that was summarized in the monitoring of the arrival of 2021 through the clock of the Real Casa de Correos and a very emotional performance by Nacho Cano and a choir playing the piano ‘Un año más’, Mecano’s song that since 1988 has been the most listened to on that day. It was a tribute to the victims of the Covid and to the health and professional sectors involved in the fight against the pandemic.

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