Parties, family get-togethers, hugging, kissing, singing, drinking and gathering in church – Christmas could almost have been designed for the efficient spread of Covid-1. So, in order to reduce the risks of infection, the Canarian government has introduced anti-Covid Christmas measures that set a rule of six for parties and gatherings, and establish a curfew from 1 am to 6 am.
The rule of six applies to all gatherings involving people who do not live in the same household, and will apply throughout the Christmas holidays with the exception of five days – the 24th and 25th of December, he 31st of December and 1st and 6th of January. On these festive days, the limit will be increased to 10, and it is recommended that members of no more than two households are involved . Children under six are not included in these limits.
A 1 am to 6 am curfew applies from the 23rd December to the 10th of January, apart from on Christmas Eve, Çhristmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, when it begins at 1.30 am, permitting people to return home. During these hours, only essential journeys for work, medical emergencies,care duties, delivering presents down chimneys etc may be made.
Bars and restaurants must close by midnight, and dancing and karaoke is forbidden, as is smoking on the premises of any establishment. The law also forbids large gatherings, meaning that the Carreras de San Silvestre (New Year’s Day fun runs) that often take place in Spanish towns will be cancelled. Three Kings parades have already been called off.
This 18 day period will be the first time that any of the curfew measures that were put in place in the rest of Spain on 25th October have applied to the Canaries.
Meanwhile, Eva Elisa Álvarez, preventive health adviser to the Canarian health service, has issued recommendations for Canarian residents and tourists over the Christmas period.
Álvarez recommends holding Christmas meals in the open air or “with as many windows open as possible in order to avoid enclosed spaces.”
Households should limit themselves to one “bubble” group during the holidays, and avoid events if they find themselves developing any Covid symptoms. In this case, they should call the Canarian Covid helpline on 900 112 061.
Diners should maintain an interpersonal distance of 1.5 metres, especially between people who do not live in the same household. In this case, Álvarez suggests leaving an empty chair between table places. Masks should be worn when people are not eating or drinking, and food should not be shared. Glasses should be marked to avoid people accidentally drinking from someone else’s.
Álvarez also suggested that families who carry out care duties for a vulnerable family member should celebrate two sets of celebrations, so that if one group needs to be quarantined, others will remain available.