Below an update from our friend Johnnie Walker on the Camino Frances (August 30th):
THE CAMINO IS OPEN AND IS AS SAFE AS YOU MAKE IT
I’m currently walking from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago. I’m replying to a few messages I’ve had in the last few days.
If you want to walk the Camino and your country permits you to fly, and you can get a flight, and Spain allows you to enter, and you take any quarantine issues into account… You will be welcome in SPAIN and on the Camino routes.
There are no restrictions on the Camino apart from wearing a face mask when entering a town or village, when going into shops etc. The hostels I’ve been staying in have been fully prepared and the many pilgrims I’ve spoken to say that they also feel safe in albergues – with one or two exceptions where they have left to find something else. Capacity has been reduced in hotels, bars, restaurants and Albergues to facilitate social distancing.
In case you forget, there are signs everywhere and hand gel readily available reminding everyone to keep their distance from others, clean their hands frequently and wear a face mask as above.
But the infection rate is increasing in Spain? You may ask.
Yes it is and there is increasing evidence that the virus is being spread by large social gatherings and people cramming into pubs and discos as well as the Spanish habit of kissing and hugging.
If you don’t intend to go to a large social gathering or a disco or start hugging and kissing the locals then you’ll be fine in my view.
But what if there is another lockdown? The government has said they cannot envisage locking down the entire country again. Rather, they have devolved dealing with outbreaks to local government. In every case where restrictions have been imposed such as closing bars or restricting movement sufficient notice has been given for visitors to move on. Very few, if any, pilgrims have been affected.
At the moment there are around 40 pilgrims that I know of from Spain, Canada, Italy, England, Germany, France and of course Scotland walking roughly the same stages as me. All is well.