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COVID state of play

Spain is seeing flashes of a second wave of COVID infections. In Catalonia outbreaks have hit more industrial areas around Barcelona, and out towards Leida and on to Aragon.

No second wave has hit the Costa Brava so far - so few new cases in this area - but several countries in Europe have put Spain on a quarantine list (eg UK, Belgium and Switzerland) and France is discouraging its citizens from crossing the border. However, the situation is very fluid. We're hoping schools and universities will be back open in a month's time, but who can be sure?

For visitors, the main effect of the lockdown is that access to smaller beaches is limited - they do reach capacity, particularly at weekends when it feels that half of Barcelona come up. Mid-week hasn't been so busy.

Most of the visitors seem to be Spanish or Catalan this year. There are a few cars from further afield, but nowhere near as many as usual. Hoewver, Friday night traffic up from Barcelona, or returning on Sundays is traffic-jam heavy.

Masks must be worn when out and about, but not at the beach, or in bars/restaurants or doing sporting type activities. Bars and restaurants have been given concessions for bigger exterior terraces to allow tables to be spaced out, so there are plenty of people taking advantage of the terraces.

The general feel is everything is a bit more spacious - fewer people, spread out more, so not so jam-packed as can happen in the peak summer months. Early on beach facilities were limited, but they have all come back - chiringuitos, sun-lounger hire, canoes etc.

Shops and boutiques are mostly open, but limited to one at a time visiting. Supermarkets are a little less rigorous with the rules than they were, but masks remain compulsory - gloves are less common. It's also pretty clear that non-Spanish visitors aren't used to stricter rules on distance and hand hygiene.

Plenty of people are cycling - partly because the mask requirement discourages walking. And more people drive to places they might have walked, so parking can be heavy in peak places.

At some point there will be an economic cost, but at the moment it's time to take some sun and vacation, and leave worries for later.

Update November/December

Lockdown is tighter, with curfew and confinement to municipality from Friday to Sunday. Restaurants and terraces were closed for a while, but are back open. Schools are operating, but not universities, and Christmas will have restrictions on family gatherings. Spain is currently requiring PCR tests for anyone flying in.

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