At long last, Madrid has re-opened and what we now call “La Nueva Normalidad” (the New Normal) has taken full effect in Spain’s capital city. But how does the so-called new normal in Madrid compare to the… old normal? Let’s take a look.
It’s been said that Madrid has an overall buzz which can be enjoyed by anyone who cares to take to the streets and soak up the city, not associated with any particular world famous monument, castle or palace (though of course we also have all of these things). Though perhaps difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of such energy, certainly the first searching ground would be anywhere at all with nice food, nice wine and people having a great time with family and friends – i.e in the bars, restaurants and numerous terraces which populate every neighborhood. Luckily we have enjoyed the return of all of these places and once again can clink glasses with amigos in cleaner and more spaced out versions of all our favorite establishments.
To the untrained eye, and certainly to those unfamiliar with Madrid and the typical layout of Spanish bars, it would almost seem like nothing has changed. However important precautions have been taken into consideration. For instance, gone are the days when throngs of strangers push so closely together that their beers spill on each other and the tiny space next to you has been inhabited by a family of five. Instead, people are spaced out and between tables, you must maintain the minimum distance and wear a mask whenever you’re moving around. Moreover, outdoor options and additional alternative seating have grown in popularity, which honestly we’re a huge fan of a quite happy that our favourite bars now have even more outside space! Finally, the food items, formerly perched, exposed and unidentified atop uncovered bar space are no longer permanent fixtures, but rather are guarded away safe and sound to be consumed upon order.
Beyond the beckon of sunlit terraces and cañas, the best of Madrid summers are its cultural offerings. Madrid is a city that, even in its “darkest” winter months (spoiler: there aren’t really dark days or winter months here), Madrid has a social calendar of art, music, theater and cinema so extensive that no mere mortal could think to attend it all. But in summer, the list of organized events and activities is enough to leave you wondering why anyone would prefer to be at the beach.
Once again, in the “new normal” these exciting events look very much the same as before, offering all the same quality options with minimal, but important changes to keep them safe. Most summer events during typical summers are held outside in Madrid to maximise time enjoying the cooler summer evenings so the summer plans here in the capital have been able to open as usual (except with some extra safety protocols and compulsory use of face coverings) – for example, the outdoor cinemas have started again with gusto.
The biggest indoor attraction, rain or shine, remains Madrid’s unending list of museums and specialist exhibitions. Now might be the best time to visit as most of the museums are free at least until August. Beyond the call of unlimited air conditioning, Madrid’s museums are home to some of the world’s most treasured art pieces. Usually, a tourist looking to visit any one of the top three Golden Triangle museums is looking to pay a fairly steep entrance fee, and/or wait in an undesirably long line to get in. However, now that forum capacities have been reduced and the necessity to reserve tickets online in advance, most of the city’s museums are offering entrance at reduced prices, or even completely free of charge. Great news! Of course, masks are required inside and social distancing is observed not just within the museum but in each individual room to prevent crowding and ensure safety.
And Finally, Parks!
Need I say more? Madrid has the largest amount of park space of any city in Europe, and dang, it shows. There has arguably never been a better time to spend your day stretched across a picnic blanket reading a book and enjoying a “bocadillo” (small sandwich). Did someone say BYOB in the Spanish sun?!
The parks in Madrid are not only numerous, but they are generally also enormous. Meaning that even with the continued popularity of biking, jogging, outdoor yoga and of course, the aforementioned sprawling on blankets, there is plenty of room for everyone who wants to comfortably enjoy. Masks are worn approaching the park, and of course can be kept on as preferred but aren’t really needed as people are so easily able to keep their distance. The bathrooms and various food stands remain open and are cleaner than ever.
Learning and Growing
The COVID crisis was felt all over the world, and it’s impossible not to recognize that the on-going effects will continue to impact our lives into the foreseeable future. We’ve seen Madrid come back to life bigger and better (and far cleaner!) than ever. While it’s crucial for us to keep socially distancing and following guidelines for wearing masks, we are able to live and breathe the energy that makes Madrid such a special place.
TtMadrid and COVID-19 – our protocols
After moving our course online during the peak of the crisis here in Spain, we’re back with our in-person courses at our centre in Madrid. We’re following strict protocols to ensure that our staff and students are protected and are safe at all times.
On entering the school:
- Avoid using the elevator in the building
- Avoid using the handrails
- Wear a face covering at all times in the public areas and upon entering the school
- Use the hand sanitizer provided on entering the school
While at the school:
- Wear a face covering at all times in communal areas
- Maintain the minimum safety distance between you and other students and staff
- Avoid sitting in communal areas; if you do, maintain the minimum safety distance
- Use the signals on the floor to move around the school safely
- Only use the kitchen for hot or cold water and use hand sanitizer or wash your hands before touching any surfaces
- Bring your own bottle or cup to use while at the school
- Bathrooms are to be used only in cases of emergencies
- Before entering the classroom, please use hand sanitizer
In the classroom:
- Face coverings are mandatory in the classroom
- TtMadrid has provided the recommended safety distance between students, and for the teacher to be able to move around the board
- Students should not move around the classroom once the class has started
- Students should not move their chairs or desks once seated
- Students should not share materials with classmates
Do you have any questions about the New Normal in Madrid? Let us know on our Facebook page where you can also see the latest updates on life in Madrid.
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