(21/03/2022 thankfully this article is now outdated and nearly all restrictions have been removed from bars, save the necessity to wear masks indoors in public places. I shall leave it available however in case Covid should return and so we don't forget those difficult days!)
COVID-19 - the bane of tourism, bars, travel and pretty much any attempt to socialize; Lockdowns, curfews, restrictions, masks, social distancing... all a big downer, but there is still life out there and Adventurous Appetites can show you how to enjoy your tapas more safely.
A huge part of Spanish life is getting together with family and friends to eat, drink and make merry, but this has effectively been destroyed (we trust temporarily) by the virus.
Zoom meetings with a drink in hand do try to offer some form of social engagement, but really it is just not the same thing. Where is the warm bubble of the local bar with clients rubbing elbows, with the buzz of almost deafening conversation, with the beer and wine flowing, with the passing of plates for friends to share some tasty titbit before they all up camp, and move on to the next place to repeat the glorious experience?
Let's face it, tapassing is not an avoid-Covid-friendly-activity. But it is such an integral part of Spanish culture that people are not going to let the art die...
We will just have to wait until a vaccine or a reduction in infection rates permits us to hug, shake hands, pack into bars... but in the meantime we can adapt!
It obviously won't be the same... but there are still people out there meeting up to try delicious food and drink. There are still bars and restaurants serving refreshing cañas and titillating tintos.
But how can we support the decimated bar and restaurant industry and maintain some form of social life whilst eating and drinking SAFELY?
What you need to know in Madrid?
(please note restrictions and measures vary according to regions and towns and the information below refers specifically to Madrid as of date of publication, and may not be applicable in other places.)
1) Eating and drinking leaning against the bar is currently suspended.
You are not going to be able to stroll into an establishment and prop up the bar like you used to. Instead you are able to eat and drink at tables which should have 2m distance between them.
2) Socialising is limited to a maximum group size of 6 people.
You might not be able to get all your friends together but it doesn't mean you can't catch up with a special selected few.
3) Masks must be worn AT ALL TIMES IN PUBLIC PLACES unless eating and drinking.
In Spain, this means you must wear a mask even in the open air and not doing so could land you a fine of 100€.
4) Bars are currently limited to 50% of capacity inside.
More and more bars are trying to adapt their terraces to offer comfortable and warm eating in the open air.
5) Bars and restaurants are trying to promote hygienic forms of payment.
Cash payments are becoming less and less frequent and contactless cards seem to be the way forward.
6) You must be home by midnight or you will turn into a pumpkin!!!!
There is currently a curfew in Madrid between midnight and 6am and as the clock strikes 12 you must be in or returning to your accomodation. Bars will not admit new customers after 11pm.
Going a bit further!
When you do go tapassing it is going to be very important to know the latest requirements/restrictions and to know where to go and what bars to trust in.
This is where Adventurous Appetites comes in...
We are constantly monitoring the situation and we will be adapting our tours as necessary, to conform to government regulations and in order to ensure the safety of our clients, guides and collaborators as much as we can, while still offering a fun, informative and tasty experience.
We will only be frequenting bars which are acting responsibly and implementing the necessary anti-Covid measures such as maintaining the distance between tables, ensuring staff and kitchen hygiene, disinfecting tables between clients, providing single-use condiments/serviettes, etc.
As a basic precaution we will intially be running smaller groups than usual and we are also offering the chance of having a private tour.
For a full list of the measures Adventurous Appetites will be implementing please see our Covid-19 information sheet.
Basic rules are all very well and good, but there are additional precautions which just make sense to follow, even if they are not officially required.
Some will go against the grain for those used to tapassing, some may well just be common sense, but here are a few extra tips we feel are worth considering in the current circumstances.
A few things to bear in mind:
a) Even if you are in a bar eating tapas, please remember to put your mask on if you go to the bathroom.
b) Do use sanitising gel frequently. Nearly all bars will have gel available at the door to have a quick squirt but we recommend you carry your own as well.
c) We know tapassing is for sharing but we recommend serving food onto individual plates and perhaps even nominating someone to be "mother" for the night and getting them to serve, having done the appropriate ablutions!
d) Do less bar hopping. Traditionally tapassing involves moving from bar to bar... but then again it is usually done standing up as well. We would recommend choosing bars and restaurants with a good variety of tapas to try in one sitting.
e) With many bars struggling to survive in the face of the virus, and with those that are open limited in terms of the number of people they can accomodate, we would recommend booking tables in advance.
f) Please do not drop your paper serviettes on the floor. If you have been on one of our tours you will know that it is common in Spain to discard your paper napkin on the floor and that in many cases the more rubbish on the floor the better the bar ... BUT in current times please DON'T wipe your mouth and drop any potential germs into the room!
g) Please do remember the staff in bars and restaurants who have seen their livelihood jeopardized, and be aware that in Spain there is nowhere to add a tip when paying with card, so, if you would like to add a tip/gratuity, please ask waiters to add it to the bill beforehand. Every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated.
h) Non-tapas related, but Madrid is a very walkable city particularly once you are in the centre. Given the current situation we would advise avoiding public transport, which can suffer overcrowding, and suggest you stick to walking or taxis where hygiene measures are more easily implemented.
i) ABOVE ALL WE WOULD ASK PEOPLE TO ACT RESPONSIBLY - IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING THE SLIGHTEST SYMPTOM EVEN POSSIBLY RELATED TO COVID-19, PLEASE ABSTAIN FROM MEETING UP WITH OTHERS.
We appreciate that many of these measures may take away some of the spontaneity and detract slightly from the pleasure of tapassing as we have known it but for the moment STAYING HEALTHY MUST BE THE PRIORITY and we must count ourselves lucky if we can still enjoy the odd tipple and a few delicious morsels as we wait for the return of those full tapas traditions!
If you are happy to venture out now, Adventurous Appetites would be happy to show you round a few of the joys that Madrid still has to offer, despite these difficult times... And if you prefer to hold off for the time being, rest assured we will be waiting for you when you get here!!!
We hope to see you in Spain for a fun and social night out of food,and drink very soon!
Stay healthy and hasta pronto!!!
The Adventurous Appetites team.
For more general travel advice Re-open EU is a great website where you will find information on the current situation in European countries and the current restrictions, quarantine requirements etc.
There is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in activities conducted in any public place where people are present. This article is designed to give information that may be useful in the current Covid-19 situation but should not be construed in any way as a guarantee of your safety.
On its tours Adventurous Appetites will be implementing a series of measures aimed at reducing risk to a minimum, but COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death and we cannot guarantee or warrant against the risk of infection. By using Adventurous Appetites' services, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
In the interest of the health and safety of guides, fellow clients and bar workers, clients on our tours will be required to adopt all COVID-19 measures advised by Adventurous Appetites. Failure to comply may result in ejection from the tour.
IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL CONCERNS OR QUERIES PLEASE SEND US AN EMAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org