NEWSFLASH!! This just in as of Tuesday at 19:30 – they just announced we will not request to go to Phase 2 next week. The Valencian government has decided that our behavior and our numbers are not where they need to be to progress. We will wait another week in our current state before progressing.
Remember when I said there was no discernible difference between Phase 0 and Phase !? Well, turns out I couldn’t be more wrong. Not because the walking time tables were officially modified – not one little bit. Not because cafes can serve customers at outdoor tables. And not because shops <400 square meters can now serve customers without an appointment.
None of these things was the one thing that sent the community into chaos. I think allowing people to go get a coffee or a glass of wine with friends at an outdoor cafe was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. Toro! And it was on. Full Tilt. Where are the police who had a check point set up in front of our building last week? No where to be seen.
I went out to a medical appointment at 5 pm tonight. When I got out at around 7, the streets were teeming. 7-8 pm is supposed to be reserved for those who are 70+. Or others with legitimate appointments. It’s pretty clear ‘legitimate’ is open to wide interpretations and all bets are off. Tonight was the busiest evening in Valencia I’ve seen since last summer.
I had to dodge and weave my way home. The masked and gloved elderly looked confused and some of the geriatric walkers shouted and waved their canes at teenagers who were horsing around, blocking the sidewalk and hugging everyone they encountered – mask free.
Reading the paper – Las Provincias – today’s edition featured an article quoting the premier of the Valencia autonomous region. He states that now that Phase 2 is in sight, the national government will not have total decision making power to move the region to the next phase. All of the Valencia region will move next Monday – no matter what. This would alarm me but I think the cat is already out of the bag. There will be no putting that genie back in the bottle.
Now that the main danger has passed, it seems the city is restless. Protest are starting to break out against the government. Last night there were 2000 people who marched on the army headquarters and chanted slogans and waved flags. We’ve had some of the harshest measures in the world to combat the virus. So far, we are winning the battle and while universal basic income is slated to be passed by the government,. the economy has been decimated. No government will come out of this unscathed.
Clapping for healthcare workers is now a half-hearted and lasts 3 minutes max. The pot banging for essential workers at 9 pm will last a bit longer. 7 minutes tonight. We will stay at home as much as we can. While people flout the rules, we will remain inside. Another week won’t hurt anything. Another two might be even better. In June, we will emerge from our cocoons as the butterflies we will surely be. Stronger and healthier – hoping the predicted second wave will spare us. But looking outside today, I fear we may only be in a lull. I hope I’m wrong.