Malaga Province passed into ‘Phase 1’ of the Spanish lockdown de-escalation plan on Monday. There are 5 phases to the lockdown plan, starting at Phase 0 which is the strictest regime, under which we had been living for the past two months. With each stage, quarantine measures are relaxed, enabling a gradual return to ‘normal.’
Passing into Phase 1
It was great to join the rest of Spain (apart from Madrid, Barcelona and Castilla y Leon) in Phase 1 this week. In this phase, gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, provided they maintain 2m safe distance if they are not members of the same household (I can’t imagine how this one will work in practice!) It also means cafes, restaurants and small shops can open and are allowed up to 30% occupancy. My youngest son was very excited to have his breakfast on a terrace ‘I like lunch!’ he said (every meal is ‘lunch’ to him) and ‘I like sitting!’ I can assure you he has never before ‘liked sitting’ in a restaurant, so this made me laugh.
Yesterday I went clothes shopping in Fuengirola, to support the local economy and stock up on cheap yet funky clothes before our move to Slovenia. I must’ve looked like I was enjoying my walk along the seafront too much because a policeman pulled over in his patrol car and asked where this señora was going. ‘To the shops’ I told him. ‘Which shops?’ he asked. ‘The clothes ones’ I replied. ‘The clothes shops are closed.’ ‘I also need to go to the pharmacy’ I told him. This was deemed acceptable and he drove on. The ridiculous thing is, the clothes shops are open, and the people who work there are desperately trying to make a living. So the police ought to get their facts straight before they start harassing fashion lovers!
I do worry what the fallout from this thing will do to the South of Spain: hotels empty all season, cafes and bars half-full after missing out on two months’ trade. There are very few job options here apart from tourism and hospitality. I told the shopkeeper of the not-closed clothes shop that we were leaving and she said ‘no te piensas en esto‘ don’t even think about it – just go! Many other people don’t have this option, so I hope that life returns to some level of normality for them before too long.
The Journey Ahead
With lockdown measures easing across many countries, our forthcoming journey looks as though it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. We checked with the French and Italian Embassies, who still have quarantines in place for new arrivals, and they explained that with the correct documentation we are allowed 24 hours to transit through each country, with an overnight stay permitted. Should be a cinch then! I really didn’t fancy driving all the way from the Spanish border to Slovenia in one stretch.
As for Slovenia, their government has declared not only the crisis, but the epidemic itself, over. This sounds a little recklessly optimistic to me, but at least means we shouldn’t be subject to strict quarantine measures once we arrive. This is good news for us, seeing as we don’t yet have a place to live when we get there. Nine days until we go. Stressed, me? Not a bit of it…