Day 37 – Tuesday 21 April
I was sat on my bed this evening reading a book and contemplating the fact that I hadn’t yet written today’s blog. I was wondering whether the time had come to stop writing daily and maybe go to every other day. This was partly because I didn’t want to get up and partly because I couldn’t immediately think of anything to write. Then suddenly there was a cacophony of pots and pans being banged together from outside. This is how the Spanish express their dislike of government decisions. As none of us are allowed out they use this noise instead of going on a protest march. As I am deliberately avoiding watching the news, I wasn’t sure why today rated a protest.
I had a quick look at my Facebook page and lo & behold there was the reason in about twenty plus angry posts, and that was just from my friends here. The government had promised to loosen quarantine restrictions for children and today they gave the long awaited details of this. For my friends outside of Spain let me explain. For five weeks we‘ve all been on one of the strictest quarantines in the world. Unless you’re a priority worker, adults are only allowed out to go to the supermarket, bank or pharmacy. You must make these journeys by yourself, go only to the closest place and should really only go once a week. You may not go with other family members even if you live together. We are not allowed out to exercise. That’s the adults, children haven’t been allowed out at all during this time. They may not accompany their parents. Given that Spain has one of the highest populations of apartment living, with no gardens, this means that most children have only seen the outside world from their window for over a month.
Most of us expected that the government would allow a parent out with one child at a time to let them walk or run somewhere away from other people for half an hour a day. Instead they have decreed that parents may take their kids with them once a week to the supermarket. That’s it! No one is happy with this. The children don’t want to go to the supermarket, they want to play. Parents don’t want to take their kids to the shop where they will have to control them and make sure they don’t touch anything. Also an environment where they are more likely to pick up the virus and then infect the rest of the household. Those of us without children don’t want the supermarkets crowded with fractious kids as again this increases the chance of infection. We have no problem with them playing outside under supervision for short bouts in unpopulated areas. After all most other countries in Europe allow this.
This decision makes absolutely no sense and just about everyone is disgusted with it. It also doesn’t bode well for the rest of us, as it seems the Spanish government is not prepared to give an inch on this quarantine. I guess my hope for an hour of outside exercise a day has just died a death. So far the people have fully backed the restrictions, but if the authorities continue to anger them with decisions like this they may lose the public’s cooperation and subsequently the battle against COVID-19.