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Girona and the Covid pandemic impact

There’s nowhere on God’s earth that hasn’t experienced some level of the Covid 19 pandemic. 

There’s little point in switching on the TV news anymore, the grim reality of waking up to a daily situation where very little changes. 

Signs of any reprieve still seem distant, the dark and dreary wintery days snuffing out any shoots of hope. Am I painting a too black a  picture? Sorry, but it’s getting harder to remain a half-glass full guy.

Watching from afar at what’s been happening back in my home country, the UK is depressing enough. There are no clear winners as to who’s handling the epidemic the best, that’ll be an ongoing debate for some time.

Are we in the second or third wave here, all this talk of waves just makes me want to think of driving to the coast on the next sunny day, except I can’t currently do that. I can only move around within my county (comarca) which is Girones. My nearest beach is within a different comarca. I’d run the risk of getting stopped and fined, so I can only gawp at friends who live on the coast posting beach pics on their social media pages-lucky so and so’s.

After the first national lockdown the Madrid government allowed all the regions to determine their own responses. Each set their respective rules and controls on everyday life. For some regions like Madrid that means bars can stay open until 9pm, whereas here it’s 4.30 pm.

Here in Girona, Catalonia that means we’re still under a nighttime curfew between 10pm and 6am. That’s not such a big deal for me, just means my dogs get their last outing a bit earlier than before. But, as summer approaches and days get longer that’s going to be harder to police.

Hopefully by then it’ll be gone for good, or at least moved to a later hour.

Just this week they’ve allowed bars and restaurants to stay open a further one hour more, until 4.30pm.That’s fine if you’re lunching, but no evening trade is hitting their pockets hard. A few have resorted to offering a take away service but many have stayed shuttered. My usual bar is only open at the weekend, only afternoons, having to close on time at 4.30pm. The lack of people around during weekdays, with such brief trading times means it’s not worth opening.

Adding to their worries are the potential penalties. The local police are quick to fine any transgressors-heavily it seems. One rumour mentioned a long established restaurant in the old town being faced with a 60,000€ fine. 

Government economic help for business owners is by all accounts patchy, inadequate and too slow in coming. That’s playing out in broad daylight with many more shops closing for good and the rise in ‘For Rent’ signs (Per Llogar) popping up. A few permanently closed shops are even openly blaming Amazon for their woes. Again, current regulations mean non-essential shops must close on weekends. I can’t help thinking that the landlords of these places are still demanding normal levels of rent, which ordinarily are high in this city.

Youngsters must be climbing the walls as they still can’t go to any nightclubs or late night bars. I can’t see that continuing into the summer months but who knows. There are rumours of smaller music festivals being allowed to go ahead later in the year. Popular established venues like Cap Roig and Perelada are firm favourites of ours-a summer treat.

One thing my home country is streets ahead of Spain is in vaccinating people, but at least here they’ve started giving teachers the vaccine, unlike the UK. Mask wearing outdoors is still mandatory with some friends even double masking for extra safety. I’m also getting a bit phobic about eating indoors at restaurants, after reading up how the virus spreads in poorly ventilated spaces. On a recent outing I felt there were clearly too many diners inside, accentuating my virus-fear-factor even more.  

Lastly, to pile on the agony there’s a lot more talk about the subject of the pandemic’s impact on our social health. I wonder if that’ll be its longest legacy.

Hope you’re having a good day! 

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