Security in the hostels of the Camino de Santiago after Covid-19

Camino de Santiago and Covid-19

Security in the hostels of the Camino de Santiago after Covid-19


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What will the Camino de Santiago be like after the coronavirus crisis? We still do not have answers but we will surely enjoy more of its people, its landscapes and its places. What we are convinced of is that the Camino de Santiago will be even safer. The hostels of the Jacobean Routes are working on this, hoping to become “safe hostels” for the pilgrim.

The Spanish Government is working on the implementation of a unique health protocol against Covid-19 that allows the hostels to reopen, preventing users from infection and protecting staff.

The Instituto para la Calidad Turística Española (Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality) - ICTE has thus prepared a guide with measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in hostels and hostels in Spain. This document does not refer specifically to the hostels on the Camino de Santiago but gives us clues of what it will be like to stay on the Camino after the coronavirus. We summarize some of the recommendations that it collects and that will allow us to return safely to the Jacobean Routes.

General protection measures in the hostel

The shelters must put in place a contingency plan to avoid contagion by coronavirus among hostal workers and pilgrims. These protocols, which each accommodation will design according to their needs, must comply with a series of basic security measures that we summarize in three points.

  1. Guarantee the safety distance. It is recommended to guarantee the minimum established distance (1.5 - 2 meters) between employees, customers and employee-customers, redistributing the spaces of the facilities and organizing the movement of people. A capacity control will be established if necessary.
  2. Hand washing and individual protection measures. The accommodations must organize staff shifts to guarantee the safety distance, provide the necessary individual protection elements (gloves and masks, for example) and promote proper hand washing. Hydroalcoholic solutions will be provided in all rooms for customers.
  3. Correct ventilation and disinfection. Cleaning and disinfection frequencies will be increased, especially in shared use areas, showers and toilets; as well as in the areas of greatest contact (surfaces, knobs, taps, keys / cards ...). In addition, adequate ventilation will be guaranteed in all areas of the hostel.

The ICTE also details a whole series of more specific measures for each of the areas that the hostel has.

We remind you that the capacity of these premises during de-escalation is limited according to the phase in which each territory is. In the provinces with better conditions, the maximum capacity will be, in any case, 50%. The opening of the common areas is also conditioned to the phase change of each territory. You can consult all the information about the de-escalation in our article The Camino de Santiago and Covid-19.

We will detail the different security recommendations according to the hostel facilities:

Reception at the hostel

  1. Greeting without physical contact. Greeting with physical contact, including shaking hands, will be avoided for both staff and customers.
  2. Disinfection measures. In the reception and reception area, you should make a disinfecting solution for hands and a disinfecting spray for shoes, backpacks, bicycles, etc. In addition, it is recommended to place disinfecting rugs at the entrance of the establishments.
  3. Keep the safety distance. The hostel must guarantee the minimum established distance. If it is not possible to keep it between staff and customers in the reception area, physical elements such as a protective screen must be installed, easy to clean and disinfect, or a mask must be used. In addition, distance markers will be visibly placed between clients to avoid crowds and guarantee the minimum safety distance.
  4. Booking, online checking and card payment. The guide is committed to facilitating online booking and checking, card payment or other electronic means, preferably contactless to avoid unnecessary contact.
  5. No brochures or printed documentation. In the facilities of the shelters any decorative element will be avoided, as well as placing brochures or other type of informative materials. It is advisable to provide the information online.

Single and shared rooms

  1. Gel and disinfecting mats. Hydroalcoholic solutions must be available in the rooms. It is also recommended to install disinfecting rugs at the entrances of the rooms.
  2. Safety distance between beds and bunk beds. The hostel must reorganize the arrangement of beds and bunk beds to guarantee the minimum safety distance, as well as guarantee the maximum capacity allowed.
  3. Individual lingerie. In shared rooms, the hostel will provide bagged or packed sheets and blankets. It will be the pilgrim himself who must make his own bed and instruct him to avoid touching beds or bunk beds of other clients

Commonly used toilets and showers

  1. Disinfectant solution. As in the rest of the hostel rooms, the pilgrim will be able to find a dispenser with disinfectant solution.
  2. Individual soap and paper dispensers in the toilets.
  3. Avoid using mats or other common textile elements.
  4. Use of appropriate footwear.
  5. Shift control to avoid crowds and respect the safety distance.

Kitchen and dining room

  1. Shared kitchen. Disinfection of the household items, equipment (refrigerators, microwaves, etc.) and of the space must be guaranteed after each use. In case it cannot be guaranteed, it must remain closed.
  2. Dining room turns. A control of the dining room capacity must be established to guarantee the safety distance.
  3. Hygiene gel. As in the rest of the rooms, the pilgrim will have disinfecting gels to facilitate proper hand hygiene.
  4. Disposable kitchenware. Both cutlery and plates and tablecloths.
  5. Prioritize monodose. Any decorative element, shared menus, and self-service products (napkin rings, toothpick holders, cruets, oil cans, etc.) will be removed from the tables, prioritizing disposable monodose.
  6. The buffet system is not recommended.

Commonly used areas

  1. Disinfectant solutions. The hostel must have disinfecting solutions in the places of passage and in those facilities most used by customers.
  2. Litter bins with non-manual action. The bins must have a non-manually operated opening and have an inner bag.
  3. Products and belongings left by customers who leave the hostel will be discarded.
  4. Withdraw brochures, books or guides to guarantee hygiene and security measures. If this is not possible, the hostel staff must manage its use by informing the client of the need for hand disinfection before and after their consultation.
  5. Safety in the use of the vending machine. Disinfectant solution should be provided or the client should be encouraged to wash their hands before and after use.

Backpack transportation

The backpack transport service on the Camino de Santiago will continue to be active after the Covid-19 crisis, maximizing hygiene and safety. To do this, shelters must establish a series of measures:

  1. Left luggage / warehouse. In case the hostel has a place to leave the backpacks, this will be an intensive disinfection area and will have disinfecting solutions.
  2. Backpacks in plastic bags. The hostel must avoid direct manipulation of clients' backpacks and other belongings. It is recommended to offer plastic bags or similar to customers in which they can deposit their backpacks, boots or poles.

In addition to the measures taken at the hostel, Correos’ Paq Mochila will increase its security measures and facilitate the online booking of the service:

  1. Hygiene and disinfection of the transport vehicle. In addition to the measures taken at the hostel, Correos will guarantee the user of its backpack transport service compliance with strict safety regulations. Thus, the postman in charge of the delivery will be provided with the necessary individual protection measures (mask and disposable latex gloves) and will have disinfecting solutions to clean their hands and the vehicle.
  2. Online hiring of the Paq Mochila. Correos’ backpack transportation service can be hired on the web as before, ensuring secure online payment (by credit card or Paypal). This way, you can avoid unnecessary contact with envelopes present in shelters or with cash, as established in the guidelines of the ICTE guide.

Teresa Cristina Machado
Muito bom trazer estas informações sobre o que está sendo considerado um " padrão ideal " de combate ao Covid e qualquer outra infecção nos albergues do Caminho. Assim, teremos como avaliar o nível de cuidado dispensado aos peregrinos pelas habitações. Obrigada!

Hi, your information on Covid and the way albergues have to deal with this problem seems to be a bit old. That makes your blog rather confusing. What is the actual situation in the albergues in October / November 2022??

Hi, do I have to have a covid test in order to do the Camino if I live in Spain?

El camino con correos
Hi, Duncan. No, the test is only for people traveling from outside of Spain. Buen Camino!

Artem Melts
Hello, do you have Laboratories for PCR (COVID) testing in Camino-de-Santiago or any other city on Camino Ingles way Thank you

El camino con correos
Hi Artem. The pcr tests are usually done in private clinics, which you can find in the main cities of the Camino. We do not have a list of these clinics but in Santiago de Compostela you can do a test in Rosaleda HM Hospitales, Revimedic or Clínica Gaiás for example. Buen Camino!

Hello, we are planning to walk Camino Ingles at October, Its about 7 days ,Do you have information about Covid test (72 hours) that must be done before arrival to the airport ?

El camino con correos
Hello. You have to take this test in the 72 hours prior to the trip. They will ask you for the test result at the airport. Buen Camino!

Nikola Hundžová
Hello, we are planning to walk Camino frances in about 2 weeks. Therefore, I would like to ask what is the best way, to pre -book albergues? We want to start in O Cebreiro/ Predrafitta.

El camino con correos
Hi Nikola. Public hostels in Galicia probably won't be open But you can check and book them here: The private hostels you can book in this web: Buen Camino!

Hallo, I want go to camino frances in late august. Are there any requirements in albuerges and hostels in terms of vaccinaton confirmation or negative test? I know about entering the country rules, but want to be sure i am not gonna be refused in accomodation if i am not vaccinated yet. Many thanks

El camino con correos
Hi Janka. The only restrictions that exist in the albergues are the capacity, in addition to the mandatory hygienic-sanitary measures (mask, gel ...). Buen Camino!

Is it worth pre booking the pilgrim hostels on the Camino way this summer?

El camino con correos
Hi Eleanor. We recommend it. You make sure that they are open and that you will have a place. Unfortunately this summer the number of hostels and places will be less, since many establishments will not open and those that do will have capacity restrictions. Buen Camino!

Stanford, Univer, emerita professor
I have walked the Camino FRances 3 times -- it is wonderful. Hoping to go again in May... carol

El camino con correos
Buen Camino!

Fey, Claudia
We would like to walk on the Camino Frances, starting on the 30.July in Logroño for 14 dass. Is ist possible?

El camino con correos
Yes, right now it is possible. In Spain, most mobility restrictions have been removed and shelters have started to open. In addition, the borders with France and Portugal are also open. Buen Camino!

I would like to walk my first Camino (Frances) at the beginning of August. Are there any others who believe it is possible?

El camino con correos
Hello, Ana! The Camino Francés is open and there are several institutions working to ensure it is safe to walk, so it should be possible. Buen Camino!

Alex K
I am looking to do walk the Camino starting 27/07/20. Will the accommodation be open then? Is there a website detailing which accommodation will be open? If I need to purchase my own room, will the price be increased?

El camino con correos
Hello, Alex. It depends on the Camino you choose and the type of accommodation you want. On our most recent blog post we gather different resources regarding accommodation, both public and private. Buen Camino!

Hi, I plan on walking the camino from Bilbao to Santander with my two kids ( 7y and 9y ). It is a tryout and we have been looking forward to it of course. Do you know if there are enough albergues open every 15 km ( since I'm doing 1/2 etappes with the kids ). Bringing a tent is for several reasons not a good option for me. from Belgium, Leen

El camino con correos
Hi, Leen. We suggest looking into the resources that we have gathered on our most recent blog post. There are websites, such as the one for the Red de Albergues del Camino de Santiago, with lists of accommodation per Route and contact details. We also have several lists on our 'TheCaminos' section with albergues, hostels and hotels that you can check out. Buen Camino!

Pino Barilla
I live in Belgium. I will start in Leon on 11 July. My life is changed dramatically this year , I JUST HAVE to do the Camino NOW, so I hope I will find peace and inspiration. How are the possibilities to find a place to sleep every night ? Make all reservations before leaving home ? Do I bring my tent ?

El camino con correos
Hello, Pino. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding accommodation throughout the Camino Francés. Most albergues, public and private, are now open, although with limited beds. We always suggest booking in advance to ensure you have a place, and bringing your own sleeping bag to albergues to avoid problems. On our most recent article we share some resources to find open albergues and make a reservation. Buen Camino!

André Schilder
Hi, i have a planeticket to Madrid on 5 july. I Am hoping to walk the second half of my Camino. (From Leon to Finisterre). Do you think it will be posible? Greetings André

El camino con correos
Hi André! If everything goes well it will be possible, since mobility will be allowed throughout the territory of Spain. The borders open from July 1, although the Government has not yet reported whether people from all countries or only some may enter. Buen Camino!

Barbara l Palmer
I am available & prepared to volunteer .I come with disinfecting and deep clean experience under infectious conditions. I believe ,our credentials/passports will be electronic or robot prepared with dispensing system.Covid has accelerated technology .

El camino con correos
Buen Camino, Barbara!

Bob Zarichansky
Does this mean farewell to handling Credencials and Passports? Per the comment by "sea" above: vinegar is NOT a disinfectant; 60%+ alcohol is!

El camino con correos
Hi Bob! Probably, the pilgrim will handle his credential and the hospitalero the seal.

Would it be realistic to consider the Camino for July/August this year with all that's going on? It's a bucket list thing for me, wanted to do it this Summer as I have a new job and it may be a long long time before I get another chance. If it's at all possible I'd love to give it a try

El camino con correos
Hi Josh! We hope it is possible. It seems that all the conditions are being given so that in July you can return to the Camino. Ultreia!

Ivo Strijland
Hope the camino will be walkable in the summer????

Paul De Roy
Ging de Camino Mozarabe doen einde april, kon niet wegens corona, heb verplaatst naar begin mei, maar dit ging ook niet door, gedacht te verplaatsen naar september, maar voor alle zekerheid verschoven naar april 2021. Niet opgeven en met volle hoop te toekomst tegemoet.

I will be very happy to return as soon as Spain and Portugal welcome pilgrims from the US. Would love that be later this summer or fall if possible, but will wait for the invitation! Ultreia!

Hope the disinfectant is white vinegar solution. Highly effective and non-toxic

Ed Riskosky
These are times that require changes. God continues to bless us wirh the knowledge and a fair and reasonable way to reopen the Camino safely and for the best benefit of all. We must continue to have our faith and pray as we move along with these changes. God will show the way and lead us to the necessary changes. I believe that God will speak to the veterans of the Camino to help both financially and in volunteering to help make these needed safety changes. It is time for us that have enjoyed the Camino In the past to “step up” and support the Way in however we can. I know that I am ready to help. I encourage the establishment of a Spanish lead Group that can organize us volunteers together to help once a final hostel design is agreed upon. Have faith and Patience and together the Camino will be back better and stronger then ever.

Elisabeth Ross
Thanks for the updates on the Camino but am a bit sceptical about how this will work, especially for September. The Spanish Foreign Minister intimated that there wouldn't be much tourism this year.

El camino con correos
Hi Elisabeth! Let's see what happens. The important thing is that the accommodations can be prepared for when it is time to return to the Camino. Ultreia!

Hoping to walk the Norte/Primitivo Camino, starting out end of August. If not it will have to wait untill May 2021..

El camino con correos
Let's be patient. The Camino de Santiago will be waiting for us!

This new hygiene theory sounds excellent .. what will b the reality still to be seen , in order to obtain this objective there has to be a source of money .. who will pay for all this ? In reality many pilgrims don’t have the extra money for an increase in costs of albergue and hostels.. it will be naive to think that the money for this upgrades will not be put on the pilgrims shoulders.. wishing the best for fundación Jacobean and xunta de Galicia To make the necessary upgrades with out putting the cost on pilgrims.. buena suerte y buen camino.????

El camino con correos
Thank you for your thinking. Buen Camino!

Payments for hostels cannot always be done electronically. How about handing in cash in a plastic pocket where the money can be seen but not handled. As it is a long route, it is almost impossible to book your lodging as you are walking.

El camino con correos
Hi! Some things will change on the Camino after this crisis. We will see how pilgrim hostels can adapt. Ultreia!

Lucy Cantu
My group of 6 women. Have a start date of 10-3-20 what are the chances that the Camino will be available at that time. If the virus has not increased in the spread?

El camino con correos
Hi Lucy. All experts place the recovery of the Camino from autumn, so it is very possible that in October it will be possible to return to the Camino. As for the evolution of the virus, it is currently in regression but we have to be careful and see the evolution. Let's hope it is like that.

Martha Fry
Thanks for posting. Sounds very doable!!

El camino con correos
Thanks, Marta! Buen Camino!

Hoping for an august Camino

El camino con correos
Buen Camino!

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