Europe, Spain

COVID Restriction Changes

Keeping up with the COVID restrictions of Galicia and Pontevedra has been challenging to say the least. Things are changing so rapidly, and there’s not always clear sources of information. The best option is watching press releases from the president, but without access to live TV or an understanding of the Galician language, that’s not really helpful. So, we typically wait until the newspapers summarize things, and we translate into Spanish or English. What’s unfortunate is there’s always more questions than answers it seems like. There’s so many gray areas and things they didn’t discuss or update.

Typically restrictions have been lasting 3-4 weeks at at time, so we keep an eye on the date, and then reach out to teachers at our schools or other auxiliares to ask for updates. The national government of Spain has very few restrictions that they’ve instituted. Most of the power is up to the autonomous communities, like Galicia. The last set of restrictions – the ones in place through January and February – kept everyone within the confines of their concello (town/city) with no movement unless there’s a justified reason (such as work, school, or medical care).

After the carnaval holidays, the restrictions were due to be updated. Surprisingly, a few things change. First, they continued with their system of identifying concellos by red, orange, and yellow levels indicated by the amount of cases per 250,000 I believe. The new restrictions are allow you to travel within a specified area as you can see on the map. You pretty much can only stay in the same color that your area is and can’t cross through other colors. So Pontevedra is in that big orange blog on the lower left side of the Galician map. You can see the thick black line around the area, and that’s our current area to roam about it. This seems huge compared to just Pontevedra! Although, if you zoom out and consider the whole size of Spain, it still is truly just a speck of what there is to see in the country.

Left image is Galicia and right image is Spain with Galicia colored red.

So, as of February 26, we were allowed to travel within that identified region. One great thing about this was many of these surrounding towns, although small and usually uneventful, are where you access the beaches and trails. A few other restrictions changed too for Pontevedra based on it going from a red zone to an orange zone. I didn’t understand most of them because they’re in Galician, but we translated what we could. The most significant changes were that we could be with up to four non-cohabitants (previously, none) and terraces could open for restaurants and coffee shops up to 50% capacity.

Vaccine rollout was very slow going and there was only a few thousand given to most regions. Things have sped up, and they’ve started vaccinating teachers at my school. I think it’ll be quite slow compared to the US even though there’s only about a sixth of the population.

I’m not sure how long these current set of restrictions are in place, but we will be sure to (safely) enjoy them while we can!

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