Behind the Mask

“The eyes shout what the lips fear to say.”
“Your eyes are a reflection of your spirit.”
“Smile, your eyes sparkle when you do.”
Are these statements really true at the moment? What do we see in the eyes of strangers in the street out for their daily exercise, or in the supermarket? What do we see in the eyes of our friends and family over zoom or facebook live when we have not been able to physically meet up? Is it happiness, fear, anger, stress, sadness, loneliness, or are they worried? Can we tell what they are feeling behind the mask?
Just a few days ago, here in Andalucia we moved on to Phase 1. There are still some regions remaining at Phase 0. Phase 1 means we have a little more freedom. Some people have been able to go back to work with restrictions on their business to allow for social distancing. In addition to being able to drive alone to our nearest supermarket, and walk the dog for between 50-200m max, we were also allowed, as single adults to exercise between 6am -10am and 8pm-11pm. Now this week, we are able to visit those businesses that have been able to re-open, without an appointment. Some businesses are only permitted to have one client in at any one time and must carry out a rigorous hygiene routine after each one. Bars and restaurants are only allowed to serve clients at tables on their outdoor terrace areas. They must have 2 metres between tables and are able to only use up to 50% of the maximum capacity in that area. They have various rules to comply with also. Groups up to a maximum of 10 are able to socialise. Life is very difficult at the moment, but we are safe. I see pictures on social media and in the UK press of crowds of people on the beaches enjoying the sun, with no thought or precaution for social distancing. It is scary!
The Tourism industry here has been one of the hardest hit along with the businesses that rely on tourists. As yet, there are no flights into Malaga for holiday makers. At the moment, people can only travel for essential business and will be under quarantine for 14 days on entry into Spain in any case. The only tourism that is possible is for people within Andalucia to holiday within Andalucia – but even at that, there is no access to common areas such as the gym or swimming pools. This is very tricky, other even if Malaga airport opened tomorrow, the Government advise for some countries is not to travel – some predicting that this could be the case until 2021. The other problem is, that people will be anxious about people coming into the country without having been following the strict guidelines we have here in Spain – how do we know they will not bring a new wave of the pandemic with them! Everything is so uncertain around the world.
As our state of alarm has officially been extended once again until 7th of June, and as our restrictions are “eased” as we hopefully move through the different phases towards “the new normal”, it has just been confirmed that as of today, it is compulsory to wear face masks in public places where social distancing cannot be respected. The new rules apply to everyone over the age of six. The use of face masks is also recommended for children between three and five years of age. Exceptions to this will be people with respiratory problems, or those who cannot wear masks for other health reasons or due to a disability. The order makes exceptions for cases where wearing a mask is incompatible with carrying out activities, due to the nature of the activity. Running falls under this exception. This means that people do not need to wear a mask while going for a jog. A person can be fined between €100 and €600 for minor breaches, and up to €600,000 for very serious offenses regarding all restrictions and rules revolving around the lock down. People here in the main, are respecting the rules due to the severity of the fines.
I do hope this will not become “the new normal” in months to come.
I am getting used to my life in lock down and am thankful for the small relaxations in the rules. I seem to have plenty to do to fill my day, and am more appreciative of everything around me. There are some beautiful sunrises, wild flowers, water cascades. The sea is very peaceful. My dogs love me being at home! In addition to everything that fills my day, I have taken up a challenge of choosing one thing and ensuring I do it every day for 30 days. It can be anything! For me, I chose art. My theme for this year has been all about ME! This is something for me. This is my time to relax and enjoy something that I haven´t done for years. It is my time to disconnect.
If the masks are here to stay, they might as well be functional, pretty and make a statement that your lips cannot say!
If anything I have said here resonates with you, I would welcome your thoughts and comments. We are all in this together!