Catalan president Quim Torra has proposed making face masks compulsory in public spaces. According to source of his government, he made the request in the weekly meeting between Spain’s leader, Pedro Sánchez, and all regional presidents across Spain on Sunday. Face masks are already obligatory in public transport in Spain, but not in the rest of public spaces.

During the meeting via video call, the Catalan chief also urged Spain to introduce “an economy-saving policy,” with public spending in order to “save lives and jobs” and without thinking too much of deficit, as he explained talking to the press afterwards, calling for a “Keynesian” policy. One of the measures proposed is introducing a paid leave for families with children or dependent people in their care.

Other economic measures proposed include “freezing time” for SMEs and self-employed people, delaying fees and taxes and applying benefits and direct transfers. Torra also urged for the basic income for those in need announced by Spain to be applied urgently – Sánchez’s government said in mid-April that it would come into effect in May, but the measure has not been presented yet, which makes the timing suggested impossible.

Close surveillance of banks

For him, “clarity, transparency, and antibureaucracy” should be the guidelines in the coming months, with a close surveillance of banks and without favoring “the same business lobbies of every time.”

During the press conference, Torra said he had made clear in the meeting that the measures should be applied urgently, within the next three months.

“It is essential that in the coming three months no businesses shut down and we lose no jobs, a massive bailout for firms is key,” he said. “The Spanish government has to understand that whatever is not spent in the coming months will have to be multiplied if companies go bankrupt.”

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