“We are not leaving until they throw us out”, say at midnight the four boys who, sitting on an Indian blanket for which they paid 15 euros on the promenade and which they spread on the sand of the beach of Sant Miquel de la Barceloneta, the most populated at night in Barcelona. They have beer for a couple more hours and reggaeton for the duration of the speaker drums that they propped up on the beer crate.
They smoke, laugh and dance on a perfect summer night that, like in the Cinderella tale, will turn into a pumpkin at one o’clock in the morning.
Because this saturday Catalonia lived its first night back to curfew, a restriction that it reintroduced in its territory due to the increase in Covid infections, especially among young people.
And despite the fact that President Pedro Sánchez predicted this Saturday that half of the 47 million Spaniards will have the complete vaccination schedule against the coronavirus next week, the accumulated incidence in Catalonia exceeds 1,100 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.
Some 4,350 people were evicted by the Urban Guard from the beaches and streets of Barcelona on this first day of curfew that prohibits circulation between 1 and 6 in the morning.
Without incident, the young people did not resist the indications of the officers of the Urban Guard and the Mossos d ‘Esquadra who entered the Plaza del Mar de la Barceloneta after midnight to warn them that they should be home shortly.
One month after the end of the state of alarm and while the Constitutional Court has just declared unconstitutional the confinement that the coalition government imposed on the Spanish between March and June 2020, some autonomous communities such as Catalonia, Cantabria, the Valencian Community and Navarra requested to Justice that, given the increase in infections, allows them restrict mobility of its citizens.
The Catalan curfew affects some 6 million residents of 136 municipalities, including Barcelona, with more than 5,000 inhabitants and with a cumulative incidence of the pandemic of more than 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
In Barceloneta, on Friday night, pizza delivery circulates and the men who, camouflaged in white nylon bags, sell beer cans for groups that ran out of fuel.
It is night but on the sand there are tents, umbrellas, young people who dare to swim in the night sea and some families.
The liturgy of the youngest, until this Saturday at one o’clock, was more or less always the same: when the discs closed, the girls and boys gathered on the beaches to drink and hang out – what is said in Spain “Make bottle” – until the dawn is exhausted.
The classic “bottle”, on the sand, includes a blanket, sometimes a folded electric skateboard, a “speaker” for music and food: snacks, beer, a bottle of white wine, soft drinks.
The most desired object on the beach nights in Barceloneta is the bottle opener, an excuse idea to get closer to the boy or the girl who had an eye to start the conversation.
This is what happened to the four girls – two from Poland and two from Slovakia – who are celebrating the end of the Spanish course they came to do three weeks ago.
“We know we can’t stay all night but we will do it until a minute before one,” says Julita, one of the Poles.
“Today it was difficult for us to bring the pizza to the beach. It must be because of the restrictions, ”laments Susana, one of the Slovak girls.
They can be heard speaking in English, Italian, French and in various Latin American accents. Tonight, Barceloneta is a land of foreigners, some of whom will pretend not to know the latest restrictions that Catalonia requested from the Court of Justice and obtained.
At 1.30, the 420 meters from Sant Miquel de la Berceloneta beach are alone and in silence. There are no “speakers” with music or young people who jump from one “bottle” to another in search of the conquest of the night.
One detail, however, reveals the high density that, until a little while ago, populated the scene: the legion of chinstraps left in the sand.