WHAT a week it’s been in Spain’s coronavirus battle, and it’s only Tuesday!
A state of alarm, a curfew which has been walked back (sort of) and much talk of what regional governments ‘might do’ in the coming days.
The finance minister Maria Montero got it right today when she ‘recognised that citizens are fed up’ – and that’s putting it mildly.
With the daily barrage of policy announcements, predictions and their regional variations this week, it feels as though we are all riding a coronacoaster that we’re not allowed to get off.
While I recognise measures must be taken to battle the virus, I wish the government/s could just agree on a clear and concise plan and stick to it.
Of course we don’t live in an ideal world, and the virus is a complicated beast, affecting populations to a varying degree, across all levels.
Meanwhile PM Pedro Sanchez’s minority government is walking a tightrope in trying to deal with a deadly pandemic while not shedding support to the right.
But while new tougher restrictions are clearly necessary, what we don’t need is questionable changes to pre-existing rules, such as the mask usage update in Andalucia last week, which ruled we must now wear the facial protective gear while sitting in a bar or restaurant i.e. only removing it to put food and drink in our mouths.
And just how on earth are they going to police that? Must I remove my mask between each olive while waiting for my starter?
And wouldn’t repeatedly touching the mask put us at more risk of touching our faces after coming into contact with a potentially contagious surface? – In fact at the start of the pandemic, that was one of the arguments for not wearing face masks at all.
There’s also a glaring lack of detail in the mask update for individual sport – such as whether or not we must wear them during sports such as tennis or padel, among the post popular in the country. A padel club told me this week that they must be worn around the club but not on court, but confirmation from the Junta would help restore confidence.
Regardless, the new mask update will probably be policed just as much as the ‘smoking ban’, which is, not much at all.
Over the past few weeks I have not seen any change in smoking habits on the streets of Sevilla, and neither has anyone I know along the Costa del Sol.
Let’s hope the rest of this week brings more clarity, although it hasn’t started well.
The second state of alarm was decreed on Sunday, including a nationwide curfew starting at 11pm and ending 6am – although regions were allowed to start or end the curfew an hour later or earlier.
But as of today, that measure has been scrapped from the state of alarm decree, meaning regions can get rid of the curfew.
But they cannot do it immediately, only 15 days after it was decreed, so on November 9.
If you’re going to order a curfew upon the entire population, try not to walk it back two days later, things are confusing enough as it is.
Of course no government is perfect and this is an unprecedented scenario, but people are becoming fed up with the ever-changing rules and restrictions.
But with winter approaching and the fear of flu placing extra pressure on health services, we can expect more restrictions and a constantly evolving and changing coronavirus policy at the regional and national level.
So buckle up, because we’re not getting off this coronacoaster anytime soon.