Camino de Santiago and Covid-19
The Camino de Santiago goes back, since Wednesday, July 1st, to a ‘new normal’. This is the date when the Cathedral of Santiago has reopened its doors, as well as the Pilgrim’s Reception Office (where pilgrims can obtain the Compostela) and most albergues, both public and private, which are now ready to welcome back pilgrims.
After a couple of months in which the state of alarm set because of Covid-19 led to the closure of the Camino, pilgrims can now go back to the different Routes (Camino Francés, Camino Portugués, Camino Inglés, Primitivo, del Norte…) that lead to Santiago de Compostela, with all the safety measures planned by the institutions, associations and businesses related to the jacobean world.
Here we summarize in a few points how this ‘new normal’ will affect the Camino de Santiago so you can get organised to walk it this summer:
1. Booking at albergues on the Camino
One of the changes derived from this ‘new normal’ after Covid-19 is the recommendation to book ahead a place at albergues or other types of accommodation to spend the night on the Camino. That will ensure that the pilgrims finds availble spots and open accommodation.
This year part of the accommodation along the Camino may not be open, and most will have a bed limit, so we suggest making sure beforehand of the places where we want to spend the night. You can find a list with over 5.000 albergues, hotels and hostels on our website, with phone numbers and e-mail addresses so you can plan ahead.
Also, the Xunta de Galicia has created a website (https://alberguesxacobeo.gal/) where you can check availability and book a place at public albergues. There is a phone number, as well: (+34) 881 250 888.
It should be noted that only 50% of the spots will be available compared to what the have offered other years, since they have had to adapt to the new security and hygiene rules: limiting space, equipment, public spaces… According to the Consellería, pilgrims will now be able to book a reservation from the day before to 1pm. of the same day. From then, if there are remaining spots, they will be available for pilgrims who arrive without reservation.
The Red de Albergues del Camino has also updated its website with information about open albergues this summer. They also have an APP that you can download if you want to have that information on hand.
As of September 10, pilgrims who choose the Camino Francés will be able to find out in real time the free places in the hostels. It will be possible thanks to the LOT Hostels initiative, promoted by the Association of Municipalities of the Camino de Santiago (AMCS) in collaboration with the Government of Navarra, Aragón, La Rioja, Castilla y León and the Galician Association of Private Hostels (Agalber).
Any pilgrim will be able to check the availability of places in a web address expressly enabled from the 10th of September and in the AMCS application (Camino App).
2. “Albergues Seguros”
The Asociación de Municipios del Camino de Santiago has also launched July 1st their “Albergues Seguros” (“Safe Albergues”) campaign, assisting and giving advise to the network of traditional and municipal albergues about the sanitary requirements that have arised since Covid-19. For this campaign, in which Correos has also collaborated, a series of posters has been ellaborated, that can be found throughout their network of albergues, with all the suggestions that will make the albergues a safe place.
Besides, they have also created an interactive map with the location and contact of the Network of Safe Albergues that can be found on their website: https://www.amcsantiago.com/. This map is updated weekly including all available albergues.
3. Rucksack transfer on the Camino
This month we have also gone back to our backpack and suitcase transportation service from stage to stage on the Camino. Our Paq Mochila is now available again on all Routes, with all safety measures. Our delivery staff has received training in Covid-19 and we give them daily IPE needed to ensure a safe delivery: FFP2 masks, hydroalcoholic gel, disinfectant for the vehicles…
We also have an online form available for pilgrims (www.paqmochila.com) so they can book their reservation and pay safely via credit card or PayPal, avoiding cash.
Pilgrims also have access to other Correos’ services on the Camino such as the Paq Bicicleta for bycicle transportation to and from the Camino, luggage storage to leave their things when in Santiago or the Paq Peregrino, to send suitcases, backpacks and packages to the over 150 post offices throughout the Camino.
4. Registration of pilgrims when arriving in Galicia
The Galician Goverment has enabled a registry of people who come from outside Galicia to establish a control against possible outbreaks of Covid-19. In this way, pilgrims who enter Galicia to make or finish their Camino de Santiago must provide their data to the Galician Health.
Pilgrims will have 24 hours from their landing in the community to contact Sanidade and facilitate a contact in case they have any symptoms compatible with Covid-19. They can do so by calling the number 881 002 021 or through the website enabled by Sergas to report on the coronavirus.
This registration is mandatory for those pilgrims who come from autonomous communities that have an outbreak of coronavirus and more than 130 regions and countries around the world. This list is updated every 15 days, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation both in different autonomous communities and in other countries.
5. Visits to the Cathedral of Santiago
From July 1st visiting the Cathedral of Santiago will be allowed, with a limit of 200 people at a time and following a predetermined direction one-way-only without hugging the Apostle. Visits can take place from 9 am to 7 pm, last access being at 6.45 pm.
Monday through Friday access to the Cathedral will be through Platerías, and during the weekend through the plaza de la Inmaculada. Since restoration work is being done inside the Cathedral, the Apostle’s tomb can be worshiped but the “camarín” will be closed.
Other safety measures imply the compulsory use of masks, keeping the safety distance and the disposition of hydroalcoholic gel available for visitors.
Visist to the Pórtico de la Gloria can be done Tuesday through Sunday from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm and booking ahead will be required.
6. Pilgrim’s mass
Due to the restoration work being done inside the Cathedral, the pilgrim’s mass with take place at 12.00 pm. on the Chapel of the Pilgrim’s Reception Office on Rúa Carretas and at 7 pm. at a provisional altar placed on the west wing of the Cathedral, which can be accessed through Platerías. There will be a limit of 75 people allowed and they will have to pick a number when entering.
7. Obtaining the Compostela
The Pilgrim’s Recepción Office, the place in Rúa Carretas where the Compostela is obtained, will be open from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm.
During that time pilgrims can visit the centre and request the Compostela after certifying finishing the Camino by showing the Credential.
The procedure for collecting the Compostela has undergone slight variations to guarantee the safety of the pilgrims and the staff of the center itself. We detail the steps to follow:
- Pre-registration. Before going to the Pilgrim's Office, a pre-registration must be made on the website www.oficinadelperegrino.com indicating all the information that is requested to certify the pilgrimage to Santiago (name, Camino made, starting point ...).
- Take a turn. Once at the Pilgrim's Office you must withdraw the ticket with your turn.
- Check the queue. Check the QR code that appears on your ticket, which will indicate the approximate time you can pick up your Compostela. This way you will know what time you have to report, which will allow you to avoid long waits as well as causing crowds at the Office.
- Pick up your Compostela. Go to the Pilgrim's Office at the indicated time and collect your Compostela
You can also find our post office at the Pilgrim’s Office where you can send your bycicles, suitcases, etc. or buy stamps, cards and souvenirs.
Now that we return to the Camino de Santiago, here at Correos we wanted to launch an awareness campaining with the goal of, all together, help taking care and maintaining the landscapes and natural richness of the different Jacobean Routes.
With this message and this video, we want to say…
WELCOME BACK TO THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO!
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