28 days of a complete lockdown in Spain: a look from inside

28 days of a complete lockdown in Spain: a look from inside

15.04.2020 14:00
Autor: Vitaly Shalaev

Monday, March 16, 2020, 8:00 a.m. — Spain implemented a country-wide lockdown. The government decree states that all residents should stay home. You can only go out for groceries, to a pharmacy, hospital or in other emergency cases.

4-5 days before the decision making, it was already clear that the country would be quarantined. In stores, they started massively buying up meat, sanitizers, pure alcohol. A toilet paper was not left out as well.

In the first few days it was still possible to travel by car. Police officers when meeting people in the street recommended them to return home. Literally, by the end of the week, they began to stop all the cars on the roads between the settlements to detect the purpose of trip. Documents printed on a company letterhead gave a chance not to be deployed and to reach the destination. Police recommendations to stay home became more insistent.

In the second week, cautions and fines of up to 2,000 euros were imposed if you were stopped in the street while there was no grocery or pharmacy nearby.

In supermarkets, they began to insistently recommend having purchase receipts with me. To the question «Why?» answered: «Show the policeman that the purchase had been made recently.» That was, even the presence of a grocery bag did not give a reason to be in the street.

My acquaintance — director of a real estate agency said that his manager went to sign a deal having the store’s branded bag in order not to attract the attention of the police.

Since April 1, the Spanish government has strengthened the lockdown measures. Now only those citizens whose job is of vital necessity can go to work: doctors, policemen and food stores’ staff engaged in food production. Construction sites are closing — 1.7 million builders have stopped working. I must note that construction is the second industry in the country in terms of hand- labor.

The whole business is paralyzed, many employers temporarily dismiss employees, and another part of entrepreneurs is easily knocked down because they don’t know what to do.

Access control is arranged in the groceries. Some queue are standing near the shops, the distance between people is 2-3 meters. In front of the entrance they put an employee who invites you to enter after someone leaves. The rule «one has gone out — one comes in» works. Disinfectants have appeared inside to clean your hands with anti-bac. If there are no gloves, they propose you to wear cellophane, which sellers usually use in supermarkets.

Marking lines are everywhere and warning signs are set inside. You cannot approach the counter or another person closer than 1.5 meters. I had a case when I did not notice an elderly Spanish woman and came closer than a meter. I listened to a long preach on the rules of conduct.

In general, the Spaniards are much disciplined to comply with the rules, sometimes even too much. I live in a compound, fenced by all sides from the street. One evening I brought my child into a deserted courtyard so that he could breathe some fresh air and play a little. The Spaniard who saw us threatened that he would call the police. I did not wait when the guards arrived.

There is one more indulgence for dog owners: they are allowed to take their pets for a walk near home. Of course, in this way you can also stretch yourself. So, it’s not clear — who is walking whom now :).

At 20:00, many people go to the balconies and applaud for 3-5 minutes as a sign of solidarity to the doctors who are combating the virus. And they do it absolutely sincerely, loudly, emotionally and often accompanied by some kind of musical instrument.

Since my business has been online for a long time, I have not to adjust the work format. But to change my mentality and habits — yes. 

And how it has happened over time:

  • First week. I leave the house only for shopping. Lack of masks and gloves in pharmacies. In stores, I put on disposal gloves, if they are not available- a baggy.
  • Second week. I decided to try buying only packaged food, not by weight. Kept a safe distance. Met with a friend in the store (agreed in advance on neutral territory), he handed me over gloves and masks. We stood at a 2 meter distance from one another and talked. Awareness came that some habitual ways of interacting were disrupted.
  • Third week. As a must I put on gloves before leaving the house. Disinfect hands at the entrance to the grocery and at the exit. At home I twice wash my gloved hands and only after that I take the gloves off. Then, twice, I wash my hands and face. After reading the case reports, you understand that the peak has not been passed yet. Felt «shortfall» of gym, home workouts do not go very well.
  • Fourth week. It is unclear when all this will end; there is already some kind of tiredness of monotony. I have ordered device for physical exercises at home on Amazon TRX.

The rules derived for me and conclusions made:

  1. Going out should be to food store only. And it’s not the case to avoid fine at all. The main motive is that there really is a virus, because all hospitals are overcrowded.
  2. It is better to leave the house in the same clothes, which, after returning, need to be put in a single place at the entrance. Leave shoes behind the door (in Spain you can afford it).
  3. Wash hands and face thoroughly (several times).
  4.  Limit the purchase of sweets (buying for children — eating all together).
  5. Observe the operating mode (self-discipline works here).
  6. 5-, 8-liter water bottles can be used instead of hand weights.
  7. Try to avoid reading news about coronavirus in order to minimize the impact of outgoing negativity.

In general, I live in a positive mood, because all this will soon pass away and life will return to normal. What I wish to readers — stay healthy and good mood to everyone!

Photo: Vitaly Shalaev