Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Spanish Government's proposals for Christmas: dinners for six and a curfew at 1am on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve

Christmas dinners for six and a curfew at 1am on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve

Canary Islands limit meetings to 10 people and implement curfew on key Christmas dates

After an atypical year due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is obvious that this Christmas will not be like other years, as political leaders and health experts have been warning. The Spanish Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, has this week indicated that each Autonomous Community "will have to make [their own] decisions" about Christmas, depending on the epidemiological situation of the coronavirus in the region and has stressed that the measures that the Government issues for these holidays will always be "recommendations".

The Spanish Government's proposals for the Christmas season, include limiting social interactions to a maximum of six people, advises against Three Kings Parades, and the only restriction that would be relaxed is the curfew until 1:00 a.m. on December 24 and 31. 

These details were published before they were discussed this Wednesday at the meeting of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System - with some expressing regret that Health had "leaked" their plan before debating it. The final recommendations are postponed, at least, until next week, when it is debated again in the Council. 

However, family reunions will continue to be limited to a maximum of six non-cohabitating people. The Department of Health continues to recommend limiting participation to family members who already coexist, remembering that it is "in the social sphere, in meetings of non-cohabiting family and friends", where most outbreaks of infections have occurred.

Social and family gatherings

Regarding the meetings of non-cohabitants, the draft recommends avoiding or minimizing social encounters and if they are held, that they be "preferably outside", while insisting that what they have called the "6M" guaranteed, this is, the usual prevention measures.

These 6M are: mask (use of mask as much as possible); manos (hands) (frequent hand washing); meters (maintenance of physical distance); maximize ventilation and outdoor activities (keep windows and doors open when safe and feasible based on temperature); minimize number of contacts (preferably always the same); and me quedo en casa (stay at home if you have symptoms, a diagnosis or possible contact with someone with COVID-19).

The draft also insists that those people diagnosed with COVID-19 and are still in the period of transmissibility; have symptoms of COVID-19; are waiting for the results of a diagnostic test; or they may have been exposed to someone with coronavirus in the past 14 days do not attend any family or social gathering.

On the dates when many may travel, the document proposes that "those trips that are not strictly necessary" be avoided and recalls that in the case of traveling from abroad, the obligation to present a negative PCR carried out in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain and also recommends following the usual security measures.

As for university students who return home for the holidays, the draft recommends "that they limit social interactions on the days before they return home and that they take extra precautionary measures." And in addition, it indicates that they limit their contacts once at home, and interact especially outdoors and wear masks.

Without Parades of Kings

The Government recalls that events such as the Three Kings Parade and other events where there are usually crowds, involve situations of "high risk" of transmission, so it does not recommend their celebration. In the case of parades, it advises that alternatives be considered that guarantee compliance with hygiene and prevention regulations.

Other types of events held in specific squares or places, such as Nativity scenes or Christmas concerts, where access and interpersonal distance can be controlled, can be maintained while respecting a 50% capacity.

Christmas markets can be organized keeping to the capacity established in each autonomous community and provided they are outdoors and the safety distance can be maintained.

Other Christmas Activities

For other traditional Christmas activities that are held in cinemas, theaters, auditoriums, circus tents or similar, they can be carried out respecting the current capacity in each autonomous community. Even so, the Government indicates that when possible, these activities are carried out outdoors and within the safe distance.

Religious ceremonies in closed spaces will follow the capacity rules established in each autonomy, as long as the safety distance can be maintained. However, during the celebration of the religious act it is recommended not to sing and to use prerecorded music.

The traditional Misa del Gallo (Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve) could be celebrated as long as it does not interfere with the curfew. The document suggests that online or television services may be offered as an alternative.

El plan del Gobierno para la Navidad: cenas de seis personas y toque de queda a la 1 en Nochebuena y Nochevieja