The Community of Madrid, like other autonomies, has been forced to reverse its initial Christmas plan in the face of the rebound in Covid-19 infections that have been registered in recent days.

The changes reduce the number of diners who can sit at the table on the most important days of the holidays and, also, limit mobility and activity in the basic health areas where more infections have been registered in recent weeks. Among the most important measures are the perimeter closure of the community and the night curfew, which is still in force although there will be a couple of exceptions during Easter.

So that you do not get lost with the latest changes in the restrictions, below we break down the main aspects of the new Christmas Plan, which was published this Saturday in the Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid with the signature of the regional president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso

Will the Community of Madrid be closed on the perimeter at Christmas?

Yes. The regional government has already decreed the closure between 00:00 hours on December 23, 2020, and 11:59 p.m. on January 6, 2021. This decision has been taken by virtue of the agreement reached by the Ministry of Health and the autonomous communities at the meeting of the Interterritorial Council two weeks ago. 

No one may enter or leave the community in the aforementioned period except for just cause

What exceptions are contemplated to enter and exit?

As happened in previous perimeter closures, among the causes for leaving and entering the region during the confinements are duly justified health, labour and educational reasons. Also, an exception is return trips to the place of habitual residence, those made in order to assist minors, over 65s, dependents or other vulnerable people. 

The travel to financial and insurance entities and gas stations in neighbouring territories are also other exceptions, as well as the need to carry out procedures that cannot be postponed in courts or public administrations, the performance of official examinations or tests and other reasons of force majeure.

To these assumptions are added, at Christmas, trips to visit relatives and friends. This will be a justified cause for both leaving and entering the Community of Madrid during the perimeter closure. Of course, it must be taken into account when travelling that some communities, such as the Valencian Community, do not allow the entry or exit of people, so the authorization granted in Madrid would be without effect. 

How many people can you dine with or eat at parties?

At first, the Community of Madrid allowed dinners and lunches on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Eve and Kings of 10 people from up to three different living units. 

However, the negative evolution of the pandemic has forced the maximum number of diners to be set at six people. A very important aspect must be taken into account in this regard: within the maximum number of 6 people, minors must also be counted. Children count as an adult, in this case.

Another issue to highlight: only two different living units can be seated at the table and not three as was originally planned.

Is the curfew maintained during the holidays?

The curfew that began more than a month ago is maintained in the Community of Madrid from 0.00 to 6.00 hours every day. However, the nights from December 24 to 25 and from December 31 to January 1 are extended by an hour and a half.

Thus, on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the curfew will begin in the region at 1.30 am and will be in effect until 6 am. The objective is to allow people who go to dinner on those days out of their home to return to it, complying with the limitation of movements established.

The Community confines new basic zones. What if I live in one?

Given the upturn in infections, the Madrid Community Health Department decided to establish mobility and activity restrictions in six basic health areas in which it has noticed a worrying increase in cases

These areas are La Moraleja, which has been restricted for several weeks and has been extended again until December 28 because the trend has not been reversed, and the areas of Sanchinarro (Hortaleza district), Andrés Mellado (Chamberí), Getafe Norte and Felipe II and Mayor Bartolome Gonzalez, in Mostoles . The measurements in this second group begin this Monday, December 21 at 0.00 hours. 

During an initial period of 14 days, extendable, these points of the Community of Madrid will have mobility limitations (you can only leave and enter for the justified reasons mentioned above, such as work, medical or educational reasons, among others) and activity. Both shops and hotels will see their capacity limited (to 50%) and their hours in the case of shops (at 10 pm).

Due to the Christmas holidays, an exception to the general prohibition of entry and exit to these neighbourhoods has been established. Specifically, on December 24, 25 and 31, 2020 and on January 1, 2021, this restriction is lifted, so it is understood that if people residing in the aforementioned basic areas want to meet in other places with their relatives and friends They will be able to do so, although only on the designated days, not during the rest of the Easter season.

Will shops and hospitality be open?

Yes, both sectors remain open. In fact, this week, Isabel Díaz Ayuso mentioned commerce and hospitality to ensure that she will keep them open during the holidays. 

” We are not planning to ruin the shops, or close the hotel industry, or affect the economy more and more,” said the Madrid president, who, once again, opted to combine economy and health.

In the hospitality industry, the maximum capacity allowed is 50% indoors and 75% on the terraces and nightstands. Consumption at the bars is still suspended.

In stores and shopping centres and parks, a capacity of 75% is allowed, 

And the theaters and cinemas?

As well. The cultural establishments remain open during the festivities with the current capacity and schedule restrictions with which the people of Madrid have been living together for several months. Thus, in cinemas, theaters and museums the maximum capacity is 75%. This same capacity is maintained in Christmas and craft markets and also in academies, driving schools and other non-regulated training centres.

The attending public is reduced to 50% in flamenco tablaos and also in casinos and covered sports centres. Half of the capacity is also kept for places of worship and wakes. 

Does the rebound in cases affect parades, street markets and bells?

The worsening of the epidemiological situation has not supposed great modifications in the typical Christmas activities because these were already very limited in advance. 

Thus, the celebration of the chimes in any square or public road is totally prohibited throughout the Community of Madrid. The parades on January 5 will have to be held in limited enclosures and if letter deliveries are organized to the Kings or Santa Claus, they will also be in pre-established spaces with a limited capacity (50%).

The nativity scenes, living performances, concerts and Christmas markets also have to be made with half capacity. 

Maintain security measures, more important than ever

The Government of the Community of Madrid has been insisting for months on the need to observe each and every one of the security measures against Covid-19 that have been established by the health authorities and before the Christmas holidays when many family gatherings will take place and social groups outside the nucleus of coexistence, have warned that it is more important than ever to be extremely careful.

Thus, in a specific awareness campaign under the slogan ‘This Christmas, give me your responsibility’, it is recommended that at Christmas gatherings, even at the table, the minimum safety distance of 1.5 meters is not lost sight of. Also that the use of a mask is maintained when food or drinks are not being ingested and that hand washing is frequent. In addition, sharing food plates and cutlery, utensils or napkins is strongly discouraged.

It is also necessary, to reduce the risk of contagion, keep meeting places ventilated. In this sense, it is recommended to open windows before and after the arrival of guests and to ventilate 15 minutes every hour.

It is important to avoid displays of affection that involve physical contacts, such as kisses and hugs, although these days invite it, especially after a very hard year marked by the pandemic. 

Amelia Warner– After graduating from NYU with a master's degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Amelia Warner mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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