The Camino and the new normal |
In the last few months, many have had to postpone or cancel their Camino plans due to the coronavirus pandemic. Spain shut down and we were in strict lockdown for 2 months.
When is the Camino reopening?
That has been one of the most frequently asked questions during this period. For those of us lucky to live in Galicia, walking the last 100km of any Camino has been possible for a couple of weeks already. For the rest… you’ll have to wait a bit longer.
The state of emergency that we’ve been in since March ended on June 15 in Galicia and it will end on June 21 in the rest of Spain. On that day, most restrictions will be lifted and we’ll enter in what the Government has called la nueva normalidad (the new normal).
How will the new normal affect the Camino?
A set of new rules and recommendations has been approved and they will remain in place until there is an effective treatment or vacuna (vaccine).
- Airlines and other transport companies are required to hold all passengers’ details for a month, so they can be easily traced in case of a positive case being confirmed.
- The use of mascarillas (face masks) is compulsory in closed public spaces where a 1.5m safety distance cannot be observed. You can be fined with up to €100 for not complying. So, be ready to wear a mask when you enter tiendas (shops), accommodations and public transport.
- Don’t be surprised either if you are required to use gel desinfectante (disinfectant gel) on your hands every time you enter a closed space.
But albergues is where we’ll see the biggest change
There are no specific regulations for albergues, but there is a series of recommendations that any type of accommodation should follow.
- The biggest change for albergues will be in the number of pilgrims they can accommodate, as there has to be a 2m distance between bunkbeds.
Safety measures should be clearly displayed at all times, but these are some of the things you can expect:
You will notice changes from the minute you step inside.
- Maybe it’s alfombras desinfectantes (disinfecting mats) or gel hidroalcohólico (disinfectant gel) at the entrance.
- Physical contact is to be avoided, and that includes handshakes.
- The use of tarjeta (card) for payment is encouraged. Many albergues didn’t have this option before, so I don’t know whether they’ll make it available. But the recommendation is there.
- Another change you may encounter could be bolsas de plástico (plastic bags) at the entrance for your backpack, shoes or any other object that could be potentially infected.
- You can also expect sábanas desechables (disposable bedsheets)… and having to make your own bed. The guidelines say they should give you your bedsheets in a sealed bag, to make sure they are clean and no one else but you can touch them. Also, only bottom bunk beds can be used.
- Shared toilets should be cleaned and disinfected at least 6 times a day.
- Communal dinners could become a thing of the past, since shared kitchens can only be used by groups (that travel together) and they have to be disinfected after every use.
What do you think?
Do these measures make you feel safe doing the Camino soon, or would you rather wait?
What do you think will be the biggest change to the Camino experience as we knew it?