Holy Week returns in 2022 after two years of silence

This Sunday April 10 starts the Easter 2022 and it does so when most of the regions already restrictions have been removed that they launched to stop the sixth wave of coronavirus. Even the COVID passport has disappeared in many of them. But the year 2021 did not suffer the same fate.

With an incidence already triggered on Palm Sunday, which at that time coincided with March 28, the Spanish could not move between communities and lived a night curfew and meeting limitationsthe latter also within their homes.

Now, weeks away from April 20 in which the mask will no longer be mandatory in interior spaces, this atypical Easter seems distant. And almost forgotten. However, whether to celebrate the advantages of the new normality or to call for caution, as the experts do, it is worth reviewing the differences between this and last year.

Processions will take to the streets again

For the first time in two years, the processions will take the streets again at Easter. However, communities such as Andalusia have established recommendations such as the use of the mask outdoors in noisy situations, that the bearers and men and women of the throne take a self-diagnosis test and that they wear masks during the procession.

The situation is very different from last year, when in Castilla La Mancha, for example, the tamboradas had to be lived from the balconies and with marked times, to avoid crowds. In the capital of Andalusia, Seville, the parishioners moved to the churches to venerate the steps, complying with capacity regulations and wearing a mask. Now, on the contrary, the brotherhoods will have an even greater number of Nazarenes.

But not only the processions return, but also commercial activity and tourism. From the silence of two years, it has passed to the hustle and bustle, last-minute orders and trips throughout the national territory, prohibited during Holy Week 2021.

In 2021 you could not leave the community

In 2021, as agreed by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, all regional governments, except Madrid, decreed the perimeter of their territories. However, this measure was not applied in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, nor for exceptions such as attendance at health centers, compliance with work obligations or care for the elderly or dependent persons.

Some regions also established mobility restrictions within their own territory. In Andalusia, for example, this was applied to municipalities with more than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. In addition, with an alert level four, Piloña, Cangas de Onís and Siero (Asturias) began Easter closed.

The regulations had aspects that were paradoxical. On the one hand, it was not allowed to travel to another community without a justified cause, but on the other, the departure abroad and the arrival of tourists from other EU countries were authorized, since Spain kept its borders open with them. Tourists, meanwhile, crowded the center of Madrid. Something that the neighbors did not like and that popularized “drunk tourism”. Crowded terraces and pubs, queues to enter the clubs and a tide of young people looking for a place to party.

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Trips abroad

At the gates of Holy Week, many Spaniards opt for the international travel, something that could be done in 2021. At that time, the preferred destinations were countries where it was not mandatory to present a negative PCR on arrival or quarantine, such as Mexico or Costa Rica. Now, most states do not require this test.

The United Kingdom, Sweden, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Norway and Ireland, among other countries, have left behind restrictions on tourists. Conversely, in Italy the COVID passport is still necessary to use gym services or swimming pools within hotels and to access public transport and entertainment venues. In addition, since February 1, the validity of the certificate has been reduced to six months from the date of the last dose of the complete vaccination cycle.

There will be no night curfew or limitation of meetings

The fear of the fourth wave of coronavirus also caused in 2021 the restriction of night mobility from 11:00 p.m. and until 6:00 a.m.. Depending on their epidemiological situation, the regional governments adapted this curfew. In Asturias, for example, it began at 10:00 p.m., although it was also extended until 6:00.

On the other hand, social gatherings were limited to a maximum of four people in closed public spaces and six people in open public spaces. In addition, meetings between non-cohabitants in homes were prohibited.

This Easter, all this has been left behind. There will no longer be a night curfew, or limitation of meetings and it will be possible to travel both within the country and abroad.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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