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COVID and Camino de Santiago: Updated information (November)

Here we show you all the updated information of Camino de Santiago during the COVID pandemic

Peregrinos con mascarilla - Pedro Blanco Gutierrez/iStock

Peregrinos con mascarilla - Pedro Blanco Gutierrez/iStock

Updated status of the Camino de Santiago in November 2020

Currently, the Camino de Santiago is being affected by the latest restrictive measures that the government decreed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cases of people affected by the virus have been greatly increased in some locations, so the government decreed that they be perimetered to prevent the spread of the virus. In the case through the Xunta announced that pilgrims who are making the way while this measure was decreed can continue their journey. However, they must take into account a series of points, such as the fact that they cannot eat or spend the night in the perimeter town halls, or carry out any other activity other than following their route.

Along with the perimeter restrictions among the most affected Galician municipalities, the Xunta decreed that from November 6 and for a whole month the hotel sector must close its doors. This measure only affects the 60 town halls that are currently perimetered, but it is a big problem for this sector, which is so important for the Camino de Santiago.

Despite the fact that the situation is currently delicate, the government is already planning to revitalize the tourism of the Camino de Santiago through different plans already established. This same month of November, the Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality (ICTE) presented a series of works in which all the necessary measures are studied to make the  Camino de Santiago totally safe from the COVID-19. Through the application of specific measures, it seeks to minimize the risks of contagion to ensure the health of pilgrims and residents of cities through which the Way passes.

Is it advisable to travel to Spain to do the Camino de Santiago now?

Although there are currently no restrictions that prevent us from accessing Spain, at the regional level there are some communities that have limited access. The high level of people affected by the virus today has meant that the risk of contagion is greater and many associations recommend postponing the Camino de Santiago, at least for a while. Given this situation, it must also be taken into account that measures can change from one day to the next, making it difficult or even impossible for some pilgrims to return home.

Despite the fact that today experts recommend postponing the route, the Xunta is already working to reactivate the pilgrimage. Besides the plan elaborated by the ICTE that will implement hygienic-sanitary measures, there will also be online training for the hostels to guarantee the security of the pilgrims and the residents, especially now that the Xacobeo is so close.

What measures have the hostels of the Way taken against COVID-19?

The shelters of the Camino de Santiago have been maintaining sanitary and hygienic measures since the de-escalation in May. They have a smaller than normal capacity to avoid crowding and disinfect several times a day the spaces that pilgrims use most. It should be remembered that pilgrims cannot stay overnight in the perimeter towns, so they must find accommodation in a neighbouring, unrestricted town.

How can you prevent contagion if you travel the Way of Saint James?

Although the situation has become much more sensitive today, there are pilgrims who were already on the move while the restrictions were in place. As the Xunta has confirmed, they will be able to continue their journey to finish it, but a series of measures must be followed to avoid contagion.

One of the most important things to protect oneself during the Camino de Santiago is the use of the mask and changing it as often as necessary to ensure its proper functioning. Along with this, other useful prevention measures for pilgrims are avoiding closed sites and maintaining a safe distance whenever possible, as well as carrying a hydro-alcoholic gel to disinfect themselves when necessary.

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