Sitges, Spain: Clinical studies have never been better: For a few hours on Friday in a seaside town near Barcelona, some 400 people said adios to pandemic distancing and partied like in 2019 – all in the name science.
Masks were the only visible sign of the times, as attendees had the freedom to bar hop, dance and drink indoors and outdoors at cafes and clubs along a 400-mile street. meters from Sitges town.
The aim of the study: to test whether clubs can reopen without presenting a threat of contagion. In addition to agreeing to wear FFP2 or surgical masks, revelers had to present a negative antigen test carried out a few hours before the study.
“When I saw that there was finally the possibility of going to party, I did not think twice,” Nuria Miralpeix, 38, happy participant told AFP. “The last time I went out was in March 2020. Since then I have been locked up and now I feel like a student dying to party on a Thursday!” added the CFO, smiling.
Although the feeling of freedom lasts only a few hours, Edgar, 37, said it should be “enjoyed”. The street of Sitges which hosts the study is historically known for its nightlife. Parties here provided a safe space for homosexuals when they were persecuted under the Franco dictatorship from 1939 to 1975. Organizers asked participants to respect social distancing for five days after the study in order to eliminate the risk of contamination. Then another antigen test will reveal if the party was responsible for any new cases. Catalonia’s clubs and bars were barely able to open for a month between lockdowns last spring and the new measures imposed in July. “This clinical study should pave the way for the return of nightlife – the only sector that remains completely closed,” said regional health official Marc Armengol.
Sponsored by the city and the Catalan health authorities, the experiment follows two other studies carried out during concerts in Barcelona. In December, a team of researchers conducted a pilot project that brought together 500 revelers already tested and able to dance without social distancing – but with masks.
A few days later, none of the participants had contracted Covid-19. At the end of March, another test concert brought together some 5,000 people with organizers saying there was “no sign” of contagion afterward.