COVID-19 Reflections – June 2020

Somehow we managed to survive the State of Emergency (SoE) and lockdown with our sanity and sense of humour still intact. The eerie silence in our local area was unnerving so when we heard voices in the road we were like meerkats trying to see who was walking by. Challenging times, yes, but it also gave us the chance to press pause on life and reflect.

When the SoE was lifted we then entered the State of Calamity with the gradual opening of restaurants, cafes, beaches, shops, hairdressers etc. Life is once again returning to semi-normal – albeit with restrictions. But that’s okay. We can have our cake and eat it if we follow the rules to stay safe.

… but there are always special snowflakes who think the rules don’t apply to them and not just in Portugal.

Our closest town, Lagos, only had four cases and all was going well. Great, so like a snail I cautiously poked my head out of my shell and observed the new ‘normal’ of social distancing and face masks as we slowly adapted to a new way of life. We looked forward to the summer months in the hope we would be able to resume eating out, visiting the beach, and socializing with friends. I even considered returning to my art class providing they adhered to the stay safe rules. Apparently, they don’t, but that’s another story. I’ll give it a wide swerve.

However, over the last few weeks, various comments by some people posted to FB groups left me with a sense of disbelief and then anger at their selfish behavior and as the red mist started to descend I left the groups before I said something I’d later regret. Reading nasty comments on Facebook is not good for inner peace and positive Karma.

Basically, they felt the restrictions in Portugal were too strict claiming their civil liberties were being violated just because wearing masks was compulsory as was the restrictions on social gatherings etc. And COVID was just another virus. ‘Don’t be a Zombie,’ they said. ‘Live for today’. And to add insult to injury, they wanted the old and vulnerable to stay at home so they could get on with ‘their lives and party’.

No, we have lives too. We can’t shut ourselves away for years until a vaccine is developed we are all in this together. Please be mindful of others and show respect.

I wonder if this was the same mentality held by those who held the illegal party in Odiáxere (near Lagos) which escalated to over 100 people, on the 7th June. All the hard work to minimize contagion in Lagos which previously only recorded 4 cases jumped to in excess of seventy and led to a total of over 100 cases in the Algarve – just from that one event!. Two supermarkets in Lagos were closed for sanitation along with several restaurants as they traced party revelers who tested positive along with relatives they infected who were not even at the party

While checking the spelling of Odiáxere I read in The Resident newspaper
the GNR had to break up yet another illegal event last week in Barão de São João near Lagos.
There has also been a spike in cases in some areas of Lisbon and the Tagus Valley.
AND STILL PEOPLE PARTY.

Tourism
The borders opened with Spain on the 1st July and we have already noticed an influx of Spanish tourists. However, the Air Bridge between Portugal and the UK never came to pass and while a host of countries were included Portugal was omitted which is strange considering the whole of the Algarve still only has just over 600 cases.

UK tourists can still come to Portugal if they are willing to isolate for 14 days on their return. If I was retired in the UK now, I’d be booking a couple of month’s holiday in the Algarve to enjoy the sun away from the crowded UK resorts.

What a shame and a slap in the face for Portugal which is one of their oldest allies.

In all honesty, I’d rather be here with the stricter restrictions to help reduce the spread of infection than the UK. Only time will tell!

Restaurants

Since the restaurants reopened it is great to see seating reorganized to allow for social distancing, staff taking care by wearing masks, and sanitizing tables, chairs and menus after use. It took us a few weeks to pluck up the courage to eat out but the strict rules have restored our confidence.

If in doubt about taking a safe family holiday in the Algarve do check out the VisitAlgarve website.

CleanAndSafeComplying-

 

Considering the widespread concern in the resumption of economic and social activity as soon as the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic allows, Turismo de Portugal created a “Clean and Safe” stamp of approval to distinguish tourist activities which are compliant with hygiene and cleaning requirements for the prevention and control of COVID-19 and other possible infections.

More information on CLEAN & SAFE

Supermarkets

Towards the end of lockdown we did take advantage of click and collect as there was only so much shopping we could ask friends to get.

Finally,  adapting to the new normal, we ventured into a large supermarket which was virtually empty. We felt like kids in a toyshop as we filled our trolly with wine and replenished our depleted food supplies. Wearing masks is compulsory as is social distancing at checkouts and counters.

As we move into July and the high season, while I feel sorry  Portugal has been excluded under the AirBridge scheme in the UK I am to some extent relieved after reading various news reports about the lack of restraint as people hit the pubs in the UK on Super Saturday.

We will continue to support our local restaurants and providing they abide by the Clean&Safe rules leave good tips for the staff. We ARE all in this together!

How are you coping as you adapt to the NEW normal?

Useful Website: Visit Algarve

Why wear a mask?

2 thoughts on “COVID-19 Reflections – June 2020

Add yours

  1. We are locked down in NW London as our flight to Portugal was cancelled. Things aren’t greatly different here. We have more idiots in London than you have in Odiaxere (and a similar population in London to the whole of Portugal) but it makes no difference if you stay at home. One weekly supermarket trip just before they close is all we risk.
    However, I have quite enjoyed it. The weather has been Algarvian up to 10 days ago and we have a lovely garden to sit in with BBQ but sadly no pool. I have my paintbox and my art teacher in Luz sends me regular painting challenges and gives me feedback online.

    You said “If I was retired in the UK now, I’d be booking a couple of month’s holiday in the Algarve”. No thanks and no way I am risking a plane flight. New cases per day worldwide are steadily rising and with open borders we are heading for a second spike in the UK and Portugal.

    The Air Bridge is not wanted by the UK because new cases per million population in June were (source: Worldometer):
    UK – 557
    PT – 964
    and whilst UK’s new cases are reducing Portugal’s are starting to rise again. However, Portugal has a far lower death rate, for no apparent reason apart from how deaths might be classified. Or maybe better testing.

    We all need to stay safe(r) but I don’t think you are better off in either country.

    We are resigned to staying in the UK for a while yet. The problem will come when winter hits here in 3 months or so 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chip, if I was in the UK right now I would not leave my house – not even for shopping. We know someone who went back to the UK recently and they can’t wait to get back here. There are strict rules on wearing masks in Portugal which makes a difference.

      However, we must all stay within our comfort zone for our own sanity. For example , wild horses would not drag me to Lisbon area where the main spike of cases have occurred. But Lisbon people come on holiday in the Algarve so who knows what is really ‘safe’ any more?.

      I can’t begin to understand the figures on WorldMeter as the UK does not even register the number of recovered cases and on paper, it appears Spain is worse than the UK AND Portugal yet they were included.

      The world is a crazy place right now and it feels like our life has been turned upside down.

      How is the painting coming along? I used to go to an art class before lockdown and I started with watercolours and was just beginning to experiment with acrylics (which is more forgiving). which reminds me I need to go and collect my canvass which I left in the teacher’s studio before lockdown.

      thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Like

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