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.
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!
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.
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
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