The Camino opens with new rules and a new reality. It has survived the Moors, the black plague and Henry the VIIIth. It’s staying around, with all its ebbs and flows. Something’s we may mourn, and some we may welcome. For example, with less crowded habitations, pilgrims may suffer less from catching bedbugs, other bugs and tummy wobbles.
1. The No Touching rule
The big hugs, the hearty handshakes are gone. Keep your 1.5m distance, or more, to give the virus less opportunity to hop from pilgrim to pilgrim with impunity. Give a wave, like the statue above – a Wave counts as a blessing too.
2. No Community Meals
Kitchens are closed in most albergues and hostals, so you will have to go out to eat. In most villages the cafes and bars are open with reduced capacity. From this photo from last year on the Ingles, I think we’re not doing too badly anyway. But be aware that we all went back to the albergue where our new peregrina’s friend was sick with the flu, and sleeping in the same dormitory. We didn’t get sick, but that can’t happen today.
3. Reduced capacity in albergues/hostals
Some private albergues and hostals may not open at all under the rigorous regime, so there may be fewer albergues. And in the albergues, there will be fewer beds, with no upper bunks being allowed at all. Frankly on the Camino Ingles, this was not a huge issue, this 40+ bed albergue in Sergude, had only 4 people on the night we were there. But this is why you need to book ahead!
4. Maintain a 1.5m distance in public places
While you are walking this is not a problem, the Camino Ingles is mostly quiet, where you may not see another pilgrim for many kilometers, but inside the towns and Santiago, that’s another matter. For now, most festivals and feastdays have cancelled festivities but you should still be careful in built up areas, and in the old town of Santiago as Spain comes back to life under the new normal.
5. Wear your masqarilla in public places
This is the rule, and you can be fined heavily for not wearing a mask. So protect yourself and the camino community by wearing a mask when you cannot keep the 1.5 m rule.