Covid Regional Closures in Spain – The Rules of the Road for Heading Home

My car is done but I can’t get it back. Yes, the work is completed early but the insurance company has to pay the dealership and they won’t release the car to me until they do. So I’m still stuck in Lugo. But that’s OK. Because it seems that we will only be locked down until Tuesday. Then we will get a brief reprieve before the city will lock down on Friday, again. I will be seeing houses through Thursday and then I can return to Valencia whenever I like because I live there and the address is on my NIE card.

There has been much confusion about the State of Alarm and all the perimeter lockdowns put into place ahead of All Saints Day in Spain. This is a big deal here. People return to tend the graves of loved ones they’ve lost. This year it takes on even more significance. However, often those graves are in other regions or provinces. But to control the virus, and muti-familial interactions, this must be curbed in 2020. Especially now. And if it works this weekend the Galician government will continue the practice to keep it from spreading to rural areas on weekends.

My new friend took me to the Guardia Civil – ‘The men in green’ she calls them. It’s the police I would encounter on the motorway driving home at the end of next week. We got the green light for me to return to Valencia when the time comes. Then I saw in the Valencian newspaper – Las Provincias – that they’re answering questions about what this perimeter lockdown really means for Valencians. Every region is handling it differently. Here are the direct quotes of the FAQ’s as published in the newspaper.

1 Can I go to Albacete to see a very serious relative?

Yes, even if Castilla-La Mancha is under perimeter closure. It would be considered a cause of force majeure. Another question is how it can be demonstrated in the face of roadblocking.

2 And go to Albacete to visit a cousin?

No. This is an assumption that does not allow alarm status.

3 Can a neighbor of Albacete go to Valencia to refuel at a gas station?

Yes. This is one of the assumptions envisaged as an exception. They can also refuel from Valencia to Albacete, even if this province is under the perimeter closure until November 9.

4 What if you want to go and see thy cousin who lives in Lugo?

Yes, you can travel to Lugo. Galicia is an autonomy that is not under perimeter confinement. (this changed yesterday so the situation is fluid) You can go by plane because flights are not affected by alarm status, by train, bus or private car. It is provided for in the exceptions to the decree: ‘Movement in transit through territorial areas where territorial limitations apply shall not be subject to any restriction. To travel from Valencia to Lugo by private car you will travel through territories with perimeter closure, but the destination is a autonomy that remains open. You can go see a family member or as a tourist.

5 Can you take an exam at a university in Navarra if you live in Valencia?

If you are enrolled in a university of Navarra, you are temporarily in Valencia and the exam is unplaceable, yes, even though Navarra has been confined to perimeter for days.

6 You are on holiday in Castellón but live in Pamplona. Can you go home?

Yes, because even if Navarra is confined and you have to cross Aragon which is also confined, the return to the family home is one of the exceptions to skip the perimeter confinement.

7 You live in Vilafranca, Castellón, but you work in Teruel. Can you go to work?

Yes. The royal decree of October 25 allows it. And if you live in Teruel, which is confined, and you work in Vilafranca, too.

8 Suppose a man becomes ill in a village in Cuenca near Valencia. Can you go to a Valencian hospital?

Yes. It is the first of the exceptions allowed by the royal decree.

9 The Audiencia Nacional, in Madrid, is calling for you to come and give a statement.

There’s no excuse. You can go.

10 You have an inferrable administrative procedure in the Segura Hydrographic Confederation and you must go to its headquarters in Murcia. Is it up to you?

Yes. But, logically, if you are required to have a police check between the two provinces, you will have to prove the completion of this “unplaceable” procedure.

11 You belong to a band. Can you rehearse with the rest of the musicians?

Yes. Daniela González, president of the Federation of Bands of Music, explains that they are affected only by the current regulations by the curfew and that they must stop rehearsing at 23 hours, otherwise ” we remain the same. We follow the protocol that marks the resolution of 19 June on cultural entities”. The bands that rehearse in municipal culture houses that some town halls have closed as a precaution have been in trouble.

12 Can traditional dance groups practice?

Yes. It is the same case as the bands or choirs and the rest of Valencian cultural entities, explains José Ramón Peinado, president of the Folklore Federation. But always in a spacious place or in patios. It cannot be rehearsed in parks as municipal permit is required. In Quart, for example, it is forbidden.

13 Can I go to dinner at my fault?

Until last night, yes, but there are new restrictions. The capacity should not exceed 75% of the venue at six tables. Now there can only be six people. Dancing is not allowed and board games (cards, parchís and dominoes), parades and games for children will be avoided. The site must have hydroalcoholic gel dispenser.

14 Can my child go to training with his football team?

Yes, but it should be noted that parents cannot attend training in some municipalities. In addition, in official matches there are teams that have closed their facilities to the public and others that do open them with limitations.

These are direct, unedited translations.

I must say that my favorites are if I was in a dance group or musical group I could go to a neighboring region to practice if I kept a proper social distance. Or if I wanted to head to my local Fallas ‘Fault’ organization to have dinner, but I can’t dance (like dance troupes can) and I can’t play games. These seem contradictory as I’m pretty sure the virus won’t care about any of it. It just wants to infect people. But it does tell you that Valencian’s value dance, music and Fallas amongst the most important activities going, and they must be protected at all cost. I’m sure the people who make fireworks are also covered under this somehow.

I did enjoy that they used Lugo, Galicia as the example – since I’m in Lugo. Perhaps someone at the paper reads my blog. Then again, maybe I’m not the center of the known universe. Damn. Oh well. I’ll live.

I’m starting a new phase of my trip. Actually finding a place to live. Less walking and more driving. And if I do, Jeff says go ahead and pull the trigger – ‘buy it.’ And according to the rules we could return here via air plane to sign the final papers, since urgent documents and administration that can not be delayed is one of the exceptions. We may actually pull this thing off and not find ourselves homeless on January 1st. Fingers crossed – wish me luck.

5 thoughts on “Covid Regional Closures in Spain – The Rules of the Road for Heading Home

  • Hopefully you find the perfect place during the window between lockdowns. So excited for you to be able to get out there for the house hunting!!

    There was a skit on SNL last week (the one with Adele hosting) where this group of friends went to a psychic in 2019 … the things she “saw” happening to them in the future 2020 made NO sense to them, but are the things we now know as ‘normal’. Just amazing when you think about how well we’ve all adapted, and continue to do so, all things considered!!

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  • A year ago, who could have ever imagined you would be searching for your forever home in the midst of a worldwide pandemic? We would never have thought to even come up with this scenario in the past. But now we live it. Glad to hear your car is fixed and opportunities for your home are out there. Best of luck and may the right one shine!!

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