Most importantly, we have our health (touch wood) and each other
The whole of Spain, like the whole of Italy, and the whole of France, is closed for business (and just about everything else) as the government tries to bring Covid-19 under some semblance of control and keep the virus from overwhelming the healthcare system. The number of cases of the virus in Spain has reached 11,000, having shot up by over 2,000 in the past 24-hour phase (though these figures reportedly have a three or four-day lag). There has been a total of 491 fatalities.
We are now on day 3 of the lockdown and for the next eleven days (and probably some time after that), almost every type of commercial and public venue, including bars and restaurants, schools and universities, has been forced to shut and millions of people — myself and my family included — are being forced to live in curfew-like conditions that were barely imaginable just a month ago.
Freedom of movement has been put on hold, as have a host of other basic so-called “freedoms”, such as the freedom to gather. Unless you’re a police officer or municipal worker, you can only be outside if you are on your own. And even if you’re on your own, if you are found on the street without good reason, you can be fined. If you are a repeat offender, you could even face a jail sentence. In the eyes of the law, there are only nine justifiable reasons for venturing out:
- To travel to or from work, assuming, of course, that your workplace is still open. Most of the businesses that are still open are those that do not have to deal with the public. Factories and offices are still allowed to stay open as long as they have certain health and safety regulations in place.
- To take out the rubbish.
- To buy food and other essential goods from the local supermarket or grocery store. Tobacconists, newspaper kiosks and electronic stores are also allowed to open.
- To buy medical supplies from the local pharmacy.
- To go to the local health center or hospital, but only in the case of emergency or serious chronic conditions.
- To visit relatives in need.
- To take the dog out for a walk.
- To go to the bank. Most bank branches are still open though a lot of back-office staff are now working from home.
- To get your hair cut.
No, seriously. Among the reasons accepted for being on the streets of Spain without receiving a three- or four-figure fine from one of the many patrolling police officers is going to a hairdresser. Apparently, this is to “help” people with mobility disabilities and the elderly.
As for the hairdressers themselves, most are understandably petrified of catching the virus from one of their customers and would much prefer to be at home with their families. Industry groups have even lobbied the government to reverse the ruling.
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