The Spanish lockdown started on the evening of Saturday 14th of March, and is scheduled to continue until at least the 12th April.
During that time, everyone in Spain who doesn’t work in essential jobs has been confined to their homes, allowed out only for necessary journeys such as going to the shops or medical appointments.
Spain’s quarantine rules have been especially strict compared to those established in Italy and, later, the UK. They forbid any kind of outdoor leisure activity apart from brief dog walks, and runners, swimmers, cyclists and walkers are all banned from their activities.
Combine this with the school shutdown, and you have an island full of people banged up together…
The coronavirus crisis has already highlighted several unlikely heroes. Shelf stacking is one of the least prestigious jobs there is, but the folks who keep the products on display certainly earned respect in the days of panic buying before the lockdown, and have impressed shoppers by keeping the stores full since.
As thousands of people realised their holidays were going to be ruined and Lanzarote slowly emptied of tourists, tour reps, hotel staff and airport attendants also did sterling work, and although there were many complaints about tourists who continued to go out during the first days of the lockdown, most deserve credit for their patience and understanding, especially when you consider how disappointing the experience must have been for them.
Food delivery guys earned new respect as they fed the quarantined in their homes, while accountants and financial advisors worked overtime to make sense of the government’s new emergency measures and reassure their clients.
Almost everybody began to live online even more intensely than usual, and the internet suddenly became a buzzing hive of live music, fitness workouts, yoga lessons and cookery classes. Rumours, errors and fake news flew around thick and fast while others attempted to provide people with trustworthy information.
Designers shared official instructions for safety masks and got to work creating them, and in Arrecife, people assembled on their balconies to applaud the heroic risks and tireless work being done by health professionals in the island’s health centres and hospitals.
But none of Lanzarote’s problems had gone away. Other heroes devoted time to preparing food and delivering it to the poor and the homeless, while volunteers operated a skeleton service supporting abandoned animals.
There’ll be more heroism needed when this all comes to an end, but these are times that very few of us will forget.