Wednesday 2nd December 2020 | MIKE SMITH
“At Christmas, we should all stay at home.” This is the message that the Health Minister Salvador Illa has conveyed to the nation after a meeting of the ‘Interterritorial Council of the National Health System’ on Wednesday in which a series of temporary measures were agreed for the festive period.
It will be up to the autonomous communities themselves to confirm which of these agreed measures will be applied to their regions; some have already suggested that they will be more restrictive than those which have been recommended by the Council, whilst others want less.
Between Wednesday 23rd December and Wednesday 6th January 2021, people will be able to travel between autonomous communities to visit family and close friends. When pushed on the latter, the Health Minister explained that they would be those with which one has a “special emotional bond“.
On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, a maximum of ten people can meet together, unless they live together and, in this case, there is no restriction. However, it is recommended that any such meetings should be made up of people who belong to the same social group and this maximum number includes children. Otherwise, on other days during the festive period, the number of people who can meet will be that which has been established by the autonomous community; in the case of the Comunidad Valenciana, there is a limit of six people.
On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the night-time curfew can be delayed until 1.30am at latest, after which one must return home and not move on to any social events. The regional governments have the right to bring this time forward if they choose. Otherwise, on other days during the festive period, the curfew will begin at the time which has been established by the autonomous community; in the case of the Comunidad Valenciana this is 12 midnight.
With regards to bars and restaurants, they will be required to follow the rules for opening and capacity which have been established by the regional governments. As always, it is recommended that a face mask is worn at all times when not eating or taking a sip of a drink. With regards to eating and drinking in the street, the Ministry of Health has reiterated that it is prohibited to do so “except for the spaces set up for it“, thus outlawing the ‘botellón’ and other similar activities.
Between December 23rd and January 6th 2021, events which encourage a gathering of crowds are not permitted, unless they comply with established protocols for such events and activities in the context of a new normal for COVID-19 in Spain. This means that the traditional parade of the Three Kings will be absent this Christmas; static events in places where access can be controlled, or virtual broadcasts of festive events on TV and other means are recommended.
The Health Minister has repeatedly said that it will be up to the autonomous communities to have the last word on what measures will be established and to what extent within their boundaries.
More information to follow …