Authorities in Catalonia have announced events can go ahead in “exceptional circumstances” following a social media campaign to reverse a close down order.

A recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Spanish region led to new stay-at-home orders, but subsequent protests from representatives at venue associations and festivals have now led to outdoor events being permitted under certain rules.

The Catalan civil protection society Procicat released new guidance that approved the carrying out of cultural events.

It said events in Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia are still permitted to go ahead provided they are in remote areas; take place outdoors; have previously been assessed and approved by Procicat; maintain social distancing; implement track and tracing systems; and take extra hygiene precautions.

The guidance also said that organisers must be willing “to make maximum capacity requirements more flexible, if the health authorities require more restricted conditions.”

Following the stay-at-home announcement, the association of Catalan venues (Asociación de Salas de Conciertos de Cataluña – Assac), and representatives from Barcelona festivals including Festival Cruïlla, Festival Pedralbes and Grec Festival took to social media to protest the shuttering of venues and festivals via the hashtag #CulturaEsSegura (Culture is safe).

Asacc said in a statement: “95% of Asacc venues have been closed since March, with no programming scheduled due to the uncertainty of reopening dates. The few that have opened have done so with minimal capacities for musical performances.

“We cannot place the responsibility of new outbreaks on venues and not keep track of street gatherings, raves, private parties and beach bars. Enough stigmatising of clubs, music and culture!

“Venues are not the origin of new outbreaks.”