Life Under Lockdown

Life Under Lockdown

I’d taken the canine down, too, and the children, since they hadn’t been outside in days. It was midnight—proper after we completed dinner—and I figured they might carry a trash bag and get a breath of air. The dog had barely peed when the patrol automotive did a U-flip, blue lights flashing. I explained that I wanted helpers with the trash bags (and, let’s be sincere, recycling all the bottles). "No hay excusas, caballero," the officer told me. "Children inside." We have been lucky; fines for violating the lockdown can go as high as 30,000 euros.

It’s day three, but feels like day 30, of a nationwide shutdown meant to curb, if not arrest, the spread of coronavirus in what has now become one of the worst-hit countries within the outbreak. Confirmed cases in Spain are up to eleven,681, with 525 deaths—scratch that: Since I began writing, cases are up to 13,716 and deaths to 558. The curve is steeper than Italy’s.

The prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, told a close to-empty parliament Wednesday morning that the "worst is yet to come." His spouse has already tested positive for the coronavirus; King Felipe, who will address the nation Wednesday night, has been tested as well, by means of his got here up negative. There’s no Liga soccer matches; the Real Madrid workforce is in quarantine, which, given how they’ve been taking part in, is probably for the best. There’s no Holy Week in Seville, no Fallas in Valencia.

It’s a glimpse of what’s coming for you, if it hasn’t already. Italy’s been shut down for weeks; France began Monday. Some cities within the United States are already there; the rest will probably be, sooner or later. Nobody is aware of for the way long. Spain’s state of emergency was introduced as a 15-day measure. The day it was introduced, the government said it could go longer. Health consultants say near-total shutdown may be needed until a vaccine for the new coronavirus is ready. That may very well be subsequent year.

Since I work from house anyway, I figured a lockdown could be no big deal. I was wrong. I’d swear the youngsters have been underfoot all day, each day for several years, although I am told schools have been closed less than weeks. Cabin fever is getting so bad I am severely thinking of making an attempt to dig out the stationary bike from wherever it’s buried. Now my wife and I battle over who gets to take out the dog relatively than who has to—canines are the passport to being able to walk outside without getting questioned by the police, at the least for adults. Too bad all the parks are closed.

What used to be routine is now an adventure: You need gloves and a masks to go grocery shopping. (Essential services—grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and, in fact, tobacco shops are nonetheless open.) I haven’t seen any panic shopping in our neighborhood; loads of bathroom paper and pasta on the shelves. After all, it’s hard to panic shop too hard when you must carry everything dwelling a half mile or so on foot. Even a half-case of beer gets heavy going uphill. Friends in other components of town say the bigger stores have a beach-town-in-August vibe of absurdly overfilled carts and soul-crushing lines.

The worst part, for a city like Madrid, and a country like Spain, is that nothing else is open. The city that's said to have probably the most bars per capita doesn’t have any now. No restaurants either. All of the many, many Chinese-owned bodegas that dot the center metropolis out of the blue went on "trip" in the beginning of March; now they're shuttered.

All of these waiters and waitresses and cooks and bar owners and barbers and taxi drivers—how are they going to final two weeks, let alone two months? The federal government plans to throw loads of money on the problem—possibly 100 billion euros in loan ensures, perhaps more. There are promises of more support for the unemployed. Layoffs are being undone by law. Who’s going to pay for that? Who’s going to have any money to exit to eat if and when anything does open?

The prime minister is right: The worst is but to come. It’s going to get brutal in the summer. Spain gets about 12 percent of its GDP from tourism. Total towns alongside the coast live off three months of insane work. This yr there won’t be any. Unemployment earlier than the virus hit was virtually 14 p.c, and more than 30 p.c among the many under-25s. Spain was still, a decade after the financial crisis, licking its wounds and deeply scarred; this is a demise blow, not a body blow.

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