Curfew & Curtailment in Mallorca

Thank heavens for the period of fine weather we’re enjoying in Mallorca now. It’s known as the veranillo de las rosas otoñales. This ‘little summer of autumn roses’ – I love the name – is the equivalent of what’s called an ‘Indian summer’ in English.

My David Austin climbing rose – blooming in late October

Spain being a Catholic country, you won’t be surprised to read that these periods of lovely weather are said to be bordered by saints’ days: September 29th (Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael) and November 11th (St Martin). Fingers crossed then that we have another couple of weeks in which to enjoy the type of weather that can be a distraction from all-things Covid.

Curfew Everywhere in Spain

The pandemic in Spain rages mainly everywhere. So much so that a national curfew was introduced from last Sunday. The curfew period was set by the Spanish government from 11pm until 6am, with regional governments allowed to tinker with these times if they saw fit.

If you’re someone who likes to be tucked up in bed by eleven, and doesn’t contemplate stepping outside again until it’s at least daylight, this curfew is unlikely to have much impact on your daily life. But, for many Spaniards – particularly those in big cities – eleven at night is when they may not long have gone out to socialise or eat dinner.

Not Good for Night Owls

The first time The Boss and I visited Barcelona (probably twenty-plus years ago), we couldn’t find a restaurant open until nine in the evening. By the time we’d finished dinner – in an otherwise empty restaurant – locals were just arriving there to start their meal.

On another occasion, I was the anchorperson on a video that the hotel group I worked for was shooting in Madrid. I was supposed to do a piece to camera outside the hotel after dark but the noise of traffic was so loud that we delayed the shoot until after a late dinner. We eventually filmed the link at two in the morning and, even at that hour, cars were still whizzing past as we filmed.

Under pressure from Mallorca’s restaurants and bars, the curfew on the island has been amended and is now from midnight until six in the morning, with the threat that the start time will revert to eleven if Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

Manacor in Lockdown

Manacor is our nearest town and it’s where we buy anything we need, recycle our rubbish, fill the car with diesel, etc. Yesterday Manacor was locked down for fifteen days.

Manacor is currently the area with the highest ratio of cases to local population in the Balearics, and it’s hoped that this latest measure will help reduce contagion.

It’s not the same as the national lockdown in spring. Businesses and schools remain open in the town and those who live within the set perimeters can go about their daily lives (including work) – although it’s recommended not to go out more than necessary.

Worst hit by this two-week lockdown are Manacor’s restaurants and bars. They can only serve customers on terraces (and with a maximum of 50 per cent of their normal capacity) and not indoors, and must close by 10pm. They are allowed to offer a take-away service; for restaurants such as the renowned Can March, which has no outdoor space, take-away is the only option.

Anyone who lives outside the borders of the locked-down area – which includes us – must stay away. Our heavy winter curtains will remain, for now, at the dry cleaners – another reason to hope this ‘little summer of autumn roses’ continues – and we shall have to wait to collect the picture to be framed that we took to a little business in Manacor.

Next Episode of Podcast Soon!

I had the most enjoyable of mornings yesterday talking to my next guest on the Living in Rural Mallorca podcast. You’ll be able to hear her soon. We sat outdoors to record the conversation, enjoying the natural beauty of the northeast corner of Mallorca. On the way home, I spotted these beautiful bucolic scenes.

Until next time, stay safe wherever you are, and give thanks for whatever’s good in your life.

Jan Edwards – Copyright – 2020

Mallorca in Lockdown

Shorty’s pretty chilled about the lockdown

A few weeks ago – when we were watching as China succumbed to COVID-19 – I wouldn’t have imagined that countries in Europe would soon be in the grip of a pandemic. Disbelief set in when parts of Italy – and then the whole country – went into lockdown. I couldn’t bear to think about what it would be like to be confined most of the time to home (even though I do love our home). Well, we’re about to find out.

According to the World Health Organization, Europe is now the epicentre of the pandemic, with Italy the worst affected. Spain is the second worst-affected country in Europe. At the time I’m writing this today (Saturday 14th), 44 people across the Balearic Islands have been infected with Coronavirus. Across the whole of Spain, the figure today is more than 6,000.

On Thursday I wrote most of a blog post about how Coronavirus was affecting Mallorca and the Balearics, and us in our rural home. It was quite a long post, which I hadn’t finished when I had to leave home to attend a press lunch.

At the time I started writing, the Balearic government had just announced measures to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. Schools and educational establishments would close for 15 days from Monday (16th) and numerous sporting, social, and cultural events and facilities had been cancelled or postponed. Restaurants, bars, and clubs, with larger capacities, would also have to close.

When I came to finish the post yesterday morning, everything I’d written was about to change. I hit the ‘delete’ button and awaited further developments.

State of Alert for Spain

Yesterday, the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that the Cabinet would meet today to implement a ‘state of alert’ for 15 days for the whole country. (I learnt today that there are three categories for emergency situations: state of alert, state of emergency, and state of siege. What I’ve heard about panic buying in supermarkets here makes me think that some people are already in siege mode.)

These national measures come into effect at 8am on Monday, March 16th, to restrict the movement of people. Basically, we must adhere to social distancing, by staying at home.

The government has listed eight justifications for leaving home, which include: going to buy food, medicines, other basics, and fuel for vehicles; travelling to work and back (although businesses are obliged to allow employees to work from home); attending health centres, or going to a bank for money. Travelling around for pleasure is banned. Eating and drinking out are off the menu: only businesses providing essentials will remain open.

Public transport will continue, albeit with reduced services. The Balearic president would like to sever air connections with the Peninsular, but this has not been agreed so far.

Staying Positive

With all this going on, we are so grateful to be living in a rural area of Mallorca, where we have few neighbours, clean air, and plenty of open land around us. I don’t even want to think about what it would be like to be confined to a small apartment in a town or city. The expression ‘stir crazy’ comes to mind, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both divorce rates and pregnancies soared as a result.

What I am thinking about is how to use this enforced confinement in a productive way – such as pressing on with writing my novel or doing some home-improvement works with The Boss (I won’t share that with him yet).

I try to find something positive in any dire situation and, hey, I just found one: I was due to go to the dentist this week, but now the appointment will be cancelled.

Meanwhile, whatever the COVID-19 situation is wherever you are, take care and stay safe. This, too, shall pass. We hope.

Jan Edwards ©2020