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Living in Spain during the COVID-19 crisis

by Hanna

I have received so many questions about how is the living in Spain during the COVID-19 pandemic that I decided to dedicate a blog post for it. Especially before I left Finland and moved here, many people were saying to me that they believe there’s a total chaos with the virus in Spain. Now I feel like it would be great to tell people how things really are in here. With this post, I hope I can give you a realistic view of how it is to live in Spain during the pandemic.

Stats and atmosphere in Spain during the pandemic

First of all, I live in León in northern Spain which belongs to the larger municipality of Castilla y León. Statistically, Castilla y León has the third-highest infection rate in the entire Spain at the end of September 2020. When you look at the stats it is very important to remember that there are big differences in the sizes of the municipalities in Spain and for instance León is one of the biggest ones. Don’t get me wrong though, I do admit that the cases are here growing and the numbers don’t look good all in all.

Streets of León, Spain

Street photo of León in Spain

What is weird is that even though the stats are telling about growing numbers here, I don’t feel like everyone’s panicking about it as they do in my home country Finland. However, this has changed during the past weeks at the end of October.  But what I meant is that I felt that in Finland, covid is something that Finns are scared to death and they are afraid to live their new normal lives. Even when they talk to other people, the repeated topic is the corona situation and I felt that it is not good for people’s mental health. Here I feel that corona is present but it’s something you need to learn to live with. You don’t have to talk about it all the time and create unnecessary panic.

Sunset in León, Spain

Sunset views over the city of León!

The impact of the virus on everyday life in Spain

The most obvious things that you can see on the streets are of course the masks. You have to wear a mask always except when you are eating, drinking or doing physical exercise. If you don’t wear the mask, the police can give you a fine so people also follow the rule.

Spaniards have learned to keep a bit more distance between themselves and no more kissing on the cheeks. However, still, some people find it really hard to keep the distance in the queues. If I try to take a couple of steps forward to make more distance, they will follow me and narrow down the distance again haha. So I have to say that the Finnish 5-meter distance works a bit better than here.

In León, all the shops, bars and restaurants were open until 6.11.2020 and people use those services a lot. The local entrepreneurs need the income after being months without any business during the spring. I think it’s great that people are brave and use local services. There are some new restrictions that have come in stages for the services in León because of coronavirus.

First, in September restaurants and bars were allowed to be open only until 1 am but when the curfew came at the end of October, we were not allowed to go outside from 22:00 until 06:00.  The smaller shops have maximum capacities so that for instance there can only be 2-4 customers. You can also find hand sanitizer everywhere and people seem to use it regularly which is great. From 6.11.2020 onward there are 2 weeks of closure for the bars and restaurants. Let’s see what will follow after that.

León street photo, Spain

COVID-19 didn’t clear the streets in León but everyone wears masks.

New normal life in Spain

This is my first time living in Spain but I have visited the country many times. I can see that this is not the Spain that I’d got used to. It feels like the fiesta is over and people have been forced to calm down. Of course, northern Spain is more relaxed than southern Spain but I still feel that also León has changed due to the pandemic.

Shame is that the sports activities are pretty much suspended here. You can go for a run and some gyms are open but for instance outdoor gyms are not open and there aren’t many group sports activities. That is what is clearly better now in Finland because there I was able to play the summer season of ultimate frisbee, with some new regulations of course but it was still a very much like a regular season.

Convento de San Marcos in León

Convento de San Marcos is a popular sight in León.

All in all this new normal is something that you get used to. I still hope that the virus can be beaten soon and we can go back to the real normal. Even though you can get used to the life now, it’s not really living, it really sucks! I want to see the happy Spain again with fiestas on the streets and that it’s safe to be closer to people.

Hope this article created an idea for you on how it is during the pandemic in Spain. If you have any questions just leave them in the comments section. I hope you all stay healthy and well!

See also my tips for your next trips after the pandemic to Spain!

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Emmanuel November 18, 2020 - 9:01 pm

Love this insight 😁 the 5m natural Finnish rule actually helps keep Finland in good shape and the case numbers low so you had natural Covod protection 🙈

Hanna November 24, 2020 - 2:16 pm

I’m really glad to hear that you liked! You are completely right, the Finnish 5m distance, it actually works. 😁


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