The coronavirus in Spain: lockdown Diaries Day 4
Tuesday March 17, 2020. #YoMeQuedoEnCasa (Translated: #I’mStayingHome)
I wrote about Spain declaring a State of Alert last Friday. Over the last 4 days we’ve been under official lockdown.
Readers in North America should be prepared: you’ll soon be in the same situation. People in charge are holding off on the inevitable but the longer they wait the more the coronavirus will spread. The lockdown is all about prevention, however scary the concept of being in lockdown seems.
What blows the mind is how quickly it’s all happened.
As I mentioned in the last post, we had gone from talking about festivals last Wednesday to an official State of Alert on Friday March 13th.
On Saturday the young Spanish Prime Minister came on TV and spoke for a few hours, describing the rules of the lockdown. People can only leave home for essential outings: getting groceries, going to the pharmacy, walking their dogs…(full article). If you do go out (for these essential reasons), you have to space yourself 1.5 meters from other people.
On Saturday night there were emotional scenes of people on their balconies in various Spanish cities, applauding the healthcare workers that are taking care of patients. News is that hospitals are overrun. It seems that every night in Madrid, at 8 pm, people get on their balconies to applaud the healthcare workers.
Watching the TV on Sunday morning the police are everywhere: blocking roads, patrolling streets and sending people home. Joggers were being stopped and told that as of Monday there would be heavy fines if caught outdoors. Beaches (like everything else) have been closed. There was footage of a guy lying on the beach, a police car blasting him with a speaker “Go home! You are not on vacation!”.
On Sunday night I read that the Army is out on the street patrolling and making sure people follow the rules.
If it all sounds like an end-of-world movie. Well, it kind of is.
Monday we went shopping. Streets are dead, grocery stores quiet. Mostly fully stocked, only thing I had hard time finding was chicken. We’ve stocked up on staples: Rice, beans, meat, veggie patties for Lissette, eggs, bread, cheese, fruits, wine…
Leon is not a big city but we saw a few police patrolling the street.
Some people always insist on breaking the rules. Our neighbour had a party last night and one of them had a nasty cough.
On the news today is that some people are renting their dogs out for walks (one of the “essential” reasons for going out is dog walking). Police are authorized to ask for your dog registration papers if suspicious…
Quiet square in Leon
But again, it’s about stopping the spread or “Flattening the curve”.
For those in Spain, the National newspaper El Pais has good coverage.
The hashtag that you see on the top left hand corner of your TV here is #YoMeQuedoEnCasa (Translated: #I’mStayingHome). It’s as simple as that.
With all that’s going on, we’re under the absolute best of circumstances. Our host is simply fabulous and has cleared the whole month of April for us because, honestly, there’s no telling how long this will all last. And when lockdown is over in Spain, what will the situation be in Canada? North America seems to be trailing a few weeks behind on the coronavirus so will we even want to come back under whatever circumstances will be required? It’s all pretty much in the air. But I think we might be here for a while…
A few photos of our apartment
They call the below a “Bidet”for those who don’t know. No need to fight over toilet paper in Spain.
We’re paying 35 Euros/day, or $50 Canadian/day for the apartment. It has everything we need and we feel very comfortable.
That’s me. I’ve never grown a beard in my life but I’ve decided to let it grow until the lockdown is officially over.
It’s only been 4 days but in a way it feels much longer. It all feels very weird, our schedules are out of sync. With no going out, there’s no schedule of any kind. The last 2 days we’ve gotten out of bed just after noon. We’re going to work on that, including trying to work out from home (we have some workout disks that we’ve been travelling with the last few years).
We see neighbors looking out of their apartment windows, often just sitting there. I think it’s weird for everyone.
And this is only Day 4.
How to keep busy? We’ve watched Game of Thrones, lots of news, have reconnected with people on Facebook. Last night we watched Awakenings (a 1990 movie with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Good movie).
I’m thinking about our plans but right now there’s too much up in the air. It’ll have to wait until things become clearer.
In the news, we hear about havoc in US airports over the weekend, with people waiting hours in cramped conditions to go through immigration. We’re so glad that we decided to stay put. Yesterday France locked down just as we did in Spain and Canada announced that its doors were only open to returning Canadians and Americans. I mentioned in my last post that anyone in the same situation as us should register with their governments – we’ve been getting email updates on the latest developments.
The UK seems a mess and I really wonder about their strategy. In Australia they’re fighting over toilet paper. I read that Pornhub (Canadian company as I found out) is giving Italians free membership to help them get through lockdown. Canadians are always generous when it comes to international aid.
In any case, we’re happy to be where we are doing this time. The Spanish government is being proactive and the Spanish people are united behind the lockdown efforts. Personally, people have been very nice to us. Our host checks in on us every 2nd day to see how we are doing. She doesn’t have to do that, she’s got a mother in her 90’s with Alzheimer’s. She got much bigger problems than we do.
With all that’s going on – and with all the hardships different people are going through – we’re doing as well as anyone can possibly be.
I think however this is only the beginning.