Tag Archive | lockdown

Quarantine Diaries: Life in Confinement in Spain

Life in Confinement in Spain, or What It’s Like to Live Under Lockdown in Spain.

Includes the popular description of Why I Need to Run Down Alleyways and Hide in Pedestrian Streets Every Time I Go Grocery Shopping.

Todo Saldrá Bien Poster

I’ve heard that many people feel a curiosity to know, or have no idea, what living in quarantine due to the coronavirus was like in Spain. What were the conditions like? What were we allowed to do?

Today we are in the process of coming out of lockdown. That means that little by little we are seeing restrictions to our movements being removed and little by little, they are allowing us to leave our homes.

But during the time of quarantine, coronavirus lockdown in Spain was the strictest in the world.

From March 14 till May 4, 2020, we were in complete lockdown due to the coronavirus emergency. This is what confinement looked like in Spain.

Only the most essential services were open and running. Essential services meant, basically, large food stores, mostly supermarkets. But any establishment that sold food, such as smaller grocery stores and corner shops were allowed to open as well.

Also specialty food shops such as bakeries, greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers could also stay open.

Large department stores similar to Target or Walmart were allowed to open if they offered food or sported a food section. Here in Spain we don’t have Target or Walmart, but we have similar businesses such as Carrefour and Alcampo.

However, these department stores could only open the FOOD section of their stores. Any sections not selling food items, such as household goods sections or clothing sections, were required to remain closed. A simple ribbon cutting these sections off to keep them closed to the public sufficed.

Pharmacies (chemists) and drugstores were the other type of establishment that were allowed to remain open.

In Spain, pharmacies and drugstores are two different types of shops. Pharmacies sell medication, as well as some specialty types of cosmetics (Avène, La Roche Posay, that sort of thing).

Drugstores, on the other hand, are where you go to acquire hygiene products such as bleach, detergent and soap. Fortunately the government considered cleaning products a basic necessity — after all, we needed to disinfect our homes and clothes — and drugstores could remain open.

People were allowed to leave their homes ONLY in order to go shopping at these establishments.

You could also go out for the following reasons:

  • to visit your doctor or any clinic, health care centre or hospital for any medical reason
  • to go to work, if you worked in a sector that was allowed to work and where working from home was not possible
  • to visit a person who was dependent upon your care, such as an elderly relative who was ill or if you were babysitting for a child while their parents worked
  • to return home, for example in the case that the sudden declaration of the state of alarm should have happened to catch you travelling far from home

Going for a walk, to go jogging or bike riding or to practise any form of sport was NOT allowed.

I was amazed when I saw news reports where people in countries under lockdown were calmly strolling through parks, riding bikes down the street or jogging along the seaside. These activities were NOT permitted here in Spain during lockdown.

In fact, parks and beaches were closed during the whole of the quarantine period.

Another activity which I observed a good deal of on TV in other countries was the celebration of protest marches. Protest marches were NOT permitted here in Spain.

However, you were allowed to go to your windows or out on your balconies to protest. Popular forms of protest here in Spain during quarantine included pot-banging on your balconies.

If you violated any of these rules, you could and would expect to be fined. A typical fine could start anywhere from 600€ upwards.

Needless to say, get-togethers and parties were totally forbidden and if you were caught attending one, you would definitely receive a fine.

You couldn’t go to visit your family members or friends. You couldn’t go grocery shopping — which was the only type of shopping permitted — with other people. Grocery shopping had to be carried out singly. So you couldn’t, say, arrange to meet up with your friend at the supermarket.

Another condition which was striking was the prohibition of going grocery shopping far away from your home. In theory, you were limited to doing your shopping at the grocery store or supermarket nearest your home.

So you couldn’t, for example, grab your car to drive to Carrefour (the Spanish version of Target or Walmart) if you already happened to enjoy the presence of a grocery store on the corner of your own street. If caught by the police doing that — and police controls were ubiquitous and frequent — you could and would receive a fine.

In my case, one of my favourite supermarkets is Mercadona. It’s the national supermarket par excellence and just about everyone loves it.

However, in spite of Mercadona sporting a heavy presence in the entire country, the nearest establishment is about 1 km from my house. Whereas on the other hand, there are 2 smaller grocery stores right across the street from me.

So by law, I was only allowed to do my shopping at either one of the 2 grocery stores across the street. I was not supposed to walk 1 km to Mercadona.

But like most people, I like Mercadona. It sports the greatest variety of products and unlike many grocery stores, it also offers non-food items which, since they are mixed in with the food products rather than separated in a separate section of the store, they were allowed to sell these non-food items as well.

With all other non-food shops closed, oftentimes our only option for obtaining non-food items was at Mercadona. So you can understand why we all wanted to go there.

In addition to food, at Mercadona you could buy plastic food containers, cosmetics, personal hygiene items (shampoo, shower gel etc), all products related to your pet needs, ice-cube makers and even candles and incense.

I might add other department stores also sold these items. But in other shops, they would have been displayed in a different section from the food section and therefore unavailable to the public.

But as I mentioned, the nearest Mercadona was 1 km from my home. That meant that every time I wanted to go to this particular supermarket, I had to duck into some narrow alleyways that lead in the general direction towards Mercadona. I also made good use of pedestrian streets as much as I could on my way to this favourite supermarket of mine.

The reason for this was in order to not get caught by the police walking to a supermarket so far away from my home. Since the police patrolled in cars you could sneak down alleyways and pedestrian thoroughfares in order to not get caught.

This turned every mundane, routine grocery shopping trip into an exciting grocery shopping adventure that made me feel like a spy every time I went shopping!

If your nerves are not up to so much excitement and reading a good chiller thriller in the safety of your armchair is more your cup of tea, I’ve got a few I’d lurrve you to check out. You can have a look at them over here in Thrillers by Moi.

So, how have you been enjoying your time in quarantine? What is life under confinement like in your country? Tell tell.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Back to Granada Again (Because who knows when we will be able to go back to Granada again)

Pies (Because everyone is still at home cooking)

Shikakai: My Recent Experiment

The New Mask-Filled World to Come

Do you think from now on we will always have to wear masks? New generations will consider putting on a mask before going out as essential as putting on shoes or trousers to go out.

Young kids would be unable to even conceive of a time when people could still go out without masks.

Mask Carnaval Venice

Well who knows, it could happen. Millenia ago people didn’t wear trousers. They just wore a tiny piece of loincloth. But life on earth has developed and today no one would think of going outside without their trousers on.

Generations of the future will design masks with all different shapes and colours. There will be designer masks with paintings by Picasso and Velazquez as well as paintings by contemporary famous artists on them.

There will be a new type of business. Alongside graphic designers who dedicate their businesses to designing only book covers, posters or publicity flyers there will be artists who only paint pictures for masks.

There will be masks with sequins. Decorated nose and mouth masks that form a set with decorated eye masks, for people to wear to balls where you have to wear a mask to cover your eyes.

There will be new types of hijabs that at the same time serve to prevent the spread of viruses.

The lipstick industry will be threatened.

But people love lipsticks and red mouths. So I’m sure industry leaders, or even just everyday women — because we loooveee our lipsticks and lip glosses so much — will strive to invent a way to continue using lipstick even though we have masks on.

So maybe they will come up with some sort of clear masks that prevent the spread of viruses but at the same time allow your lips to be seen. So then you will still need lipstick.

They will need to invent new formulas so your lipstick doesn’t rub off on the mask.

Ingenious designers and engineers will contrive new ways to eat and drink outdoors or at restaurants and cafés, so you can eat and drink outside without catching the virus.

Mona Lisa and mask

And if you’d like to check out some new book covers (or just grab some more reading material) have a look over my thrillers.

So how are you getting on with your masks? What do you think of the new mask-filled world to come? Leave me a comment below. I lurrrve to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Quarantine Diaries: Fines Fines Fines

Spanish Beaches

Harira Makin’ (Because it’s Ramadan, even if you can only break your fast this year all alone at home…… but at least if you read this post you’ll have homemade harira)

Homemade Soap

Quarantine Diaries: Fines Fines Fines

Well I do agree it has been a while since I’ve been on this blog. But now with everyone in quarantine due to the coronavirus here, I find myself with a little extra time — and a TON of things I’d like to comment about.

So hopefully I’ll be dropping back every once in a while with these comments on these little things that I observe during these uncertain times.

Fines

In general I praise the police for their exemplary performance at a difficult job in what are undeniably difficult times. But personally I also think some of them are going fine crazy over here. They fined a guy for buying a fridge and picking it up. They argued that fridges are not essential items for survival.

Well I disagree! If you don’t have a fridge you will need to go shopping every day because many foods don’t last without a fridge. So you need to buy them every day. And I thought the idea was that people NOT go shopping every day.

And also if you have no fridge food will go bad. And then you will be tempted to eat bad food. And then you will get sick and need to go to the hospital.

Although if you DO go to the hospital you might get turned away because you don’t have coronavirus. It’s not the hospital’s fault, I do want to add. I know all the health-care workers are doing their absolute utmost and putting their lives out on the line to take care of everyone.

But hospitals everywhere are overwhelmed. And just entering a hospital these days is pretty much akin to catching COVID-19, where the virus is floating freely around the very air and so many hospital workers aren’t even provided with even the most basic protective equipment.

So as I said you probably wouldn’t get admitted to hospital. You ONLY have salmonellosis, or listeriosis or botulism, which can also kill you without treatment.

But that’s ok, as far as the powers that be are concerned. Because at least you didn’t die from coronavirus. So you wouldn’t enter into the statistics anyway, so no one will know that you died or what you died from.

After all if you die in your home from salmonellosis no one will know you died from salmonellosis, right? Because you didn’t get into the hospital so you never received an official diagnosis.

And I doubt they’re going to do an autopsy, because although I’m not too well-versed on the subject (ie. disclaimer: I have no idea) I get the impression that nowadays not too many autopsies can be carried out right now. So in most likelihood no one will ever know what you really died from, so your death will most likely be attributed to the virus.

So then you can’t even claim compensation because you will have no proof of any sort that you didn’t die from the virus. (Well obviously I meant your family hehe.)

But at any rate, from what I’ve read it’s still better than in the States where if you can’t pay your medical bills you will get turned away even if you have the virus.

I couldn’t understand why thousands of people are dying in their homes of the virus every day in the States. But turns out it’s because they can’t pay the medical bills so they don’t go to the hospital.

So you see, you should let people buy fridges and showers and hot water heaters. Hot showers are also essential because they are necessary for hygiene and hygiene is necessary to prevent illnesses such as getting coronavirus or any other viruses.

Well just my two cents’ worth of comments and completely my own humble but biased opinion for the day.

Take care everyone. DON’T go out unless it’s really necessary. Remember that if you #stayhome you’re much less likely to get the dreaded coronavirus.

And wash your hands with soap A LOT, especially if you just went outside or picked up something that you just brought in from outside. For at least 20 seconds. Count them. I actually do count them: one thousand one, one thousand 2……

In fact, for that matter, ever since my kids were babies I instilled in them the habit of WASHING THEIR HANDS with soap and water the minute they walked in the door.

As soon as we walk in, the first thing we do: take off our shoes and leave them at the door. We have slippers for inside the house.

The next thing we do, we take off our jackets.

And then, straight away, it’s off to the bathroom for our routine HAND WASHING!

Only after they have done all that are they allowed to do anything else, whatever they want to / have to do: unpack the food, go play, watch TV, whatever.

My kids have rarely ever been sick in their lives. They do get illnesses, but most are not of an infectious nature. One of my sons has asthma, but he was born with that.

So once again, remember: #stayathomesavelives.

And spend all your extra time reading blogs like mine haha.

Or if you’re in the mood for some creepy, scary horror tales, check out my thrillers here: Thrillers by MoiYou can get them for Kindle so they’re not expensive.

So how are you spending your quarantine? Let me know what you’re up to in Comments down below. I LURRRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments.

Black Kitty Cat
If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

A Month at the Gym: Is the Gym Really Worth It? (Now that we can’t go to the gym at all……)

Frankincense — Or How You Can Make Your House Smell Like Holy Week (So at least you have the illusion you are celebrating Holy Week hehe)

Pizza Makin’ (Because what else are we gonna do now that we’re stuck at home, except cook lotsa goodies?)

Soapmaking, How to Make Soap At Home