COVID Diary: July Reflections – Tourists and Masks

The official opening of the border between Portugal and Spain on the 1st of July quickly brought an end to our brief period of freedom and the sanity we’d enjoyed after the State of Emergency was lifted from May 3rd.  Eventually, we plucked up the confidence to eat at  a couple of our favorite restaurants once they reopened with certain restrictions. The tables rearranged on the terrace to comply with the social-distancing regulations, chairs and tables sanitized after each customer left and all staff wore masks. We even organised a wonderful socially distanced meal with some dear friends.

We were also delighted to return to our favorite cafe a couple of times for coffee and a pastel da nata  and some delicious chocolate gluten-free cake, rather than take a flask of coffee and a biscuit to one of our favorite places overlooking the sea.

Social distancing at a cafe
Social distancing at a cafe

Yes, the ‘new’ normal felt strange but we were gradually learning to adapt with a routine of masks, regularly sanitizing hands and social distancing became second nature. Life was gradually getting back to normal

The floodgates open …
The opening of the border brought herds of tourists from countries such as Spain, France, Germany, and The Netherlands etc. By mid-July, our new-found confidence floundered as there were just too many people for comfort. And, unfortunately, when some people are on holiday they leave their brains at home as some failed to remember COVID etiquette. But at least we could still meet with friends in the tranquility of our own space.

I was not surprised that Spain’s coveted airbridge with the UK, which meant that holidaymakers are not required to quarantine for two weeks on their return to the UK, would end in tears. You do not need to be an expert (when even experts can’t agree) to know how quickly COVID spreads and how fluid the NEW normal is.

Within weeks of the UK agreeing on the airbridge with Spain the rug was pulled and the UK imposed a two-week quarantine when the poor holidaymakers returned home.

By the end of July we were already surrounded by Spanish holidaymakers as a new wave of daily infections in Spain topped over 2000 cases in one day I felt despair. While I felt so sorry for UK holidaymakers who went to Spain, as per the special ‘airbridge’, I was not surprised.

My piggin’ knee

Then came the news of my long-awaited knee operation. Scheduled for the 13th of August the hospital informed me I must go into quarantine from the 27th of July prior to my COVID test. No going out unless absolutely necessary and certainly no meeting up with friends. I felt frustrated like an overwound spring but at least the hospital was taking the necessary precautions. Hubby will not even be allowed to visit so once he drops me at the front door with my suitcase and crutches until he is summoned to collect me … Takes a deep breath.


Over the last month, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated when I watched the news, read Facebook or various newspaper reports that despite ALL the deaths across the world and new COVID infection spikes, that there are still many people who don’t want to wear a mask and believe social distancing does not apply to them. How hard is it to comply if it stops COVID-19 spreading?

Wearing a mask impinges on their civil liberties or they use the excuse I  ‘can’t breathe’ or ‘x, y, z’ excuse. People even wear masks as ‘chin hammocks’.

I think Jonathan Pie sums up the situation rather eloquently (language warning).


I think it is probably more stressful living in a tourist area because of the transient nature of the population at any given time. While there has still only been seven reported cases to date in our area we have no real idea of the true figure with so many people passing through.

And so we move into August.

12 thoughts on “COVID Diary: July Reflections – Tourists and Masks

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  1. All those tourists who don’t have to quarantine is scary. Our borders in Western Australia have been closed with all other States for a while, so we are lucky there has been no community transmission for a while, but all Australians returning home have to do a 14 day hotel quarantine before they go home. Sadly in the State of Victoria a second wave has hit because the quarantine protocols were being broken.

    Best of luck with your knee operation, how sad that not even your husband can visit 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Difficult times, Sami. I now wonder what the State of Emergency and the negative effect it had on many businesses actually achieved if we leave the floodgates open now. Maybe the rules re social distancing and wearing masks should have been enforced then rather than lockdown.


  2. Have laughed and almost cried in frustration at the Jonathan Pie video ! Brilliant and thanks and it will be passed on !! Gad, many in the world seem to need an IQ test and adequate protection from themselves !! . . . . and then, hugely the best for your op . . . just try and switch off and come until a saner world after . . . hugs . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Eha, I am relieved you also found the video hilarious. I laughed till I cried when I watched it. I did pause before posting it because of the language .. but sometimes only the F word drives the point home. Will there be a saner world i am not to sure about that. I think we had the best years post now… the latest fom of warfare is economic with the release of the virus.


      1. Methinks ‘language’ in this instance is the least of anyone’s worries !! Psychologically swearing at certain times is absolutely normal !! Our southern state of Victoria is now for six weeks minimum at Stage 5, about to go to Stage 6 !! All because of people’s unutterable stupidity !@ Your video demonstrated a quintessential point . . . how terribly small ‘asks not responded can have a horrific impact !!! . . . best . . .


  3. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Haven’t seen my loved ones since Xmas and also been working throughout this whole thing as an essential working professional. Then on the other side, we’ve got people just taking all kinds of piss with this with not a care in the world. It gets to me sometimes.

    I understand. Hang in there, and good luck with your upcoming surgery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Spinster, It would be interesting to put some of the mask-asses in the front line day after day and watch people who have COVID stuggle to hang on to life. Front line workers need respect and should actually be paid danger money. You guys do an excellent job and we should all play our part in supporting them.

      I think I am more scared of knee op as hubby won’t be there when I wake up with a smile and to hold my hand.

      Liked by 1 person

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