Eleonora Tarlea (43 years old), resident in one of the most popular touristic resorts in Spain, speaks about life in one of the most affected countries by coronavirus pandemic. From measures taken by local authorities to the way her life has changed, and to all those valuable lessons we learn during this period – if we want to.
Nora, as her friends call her, moved from Norway to Spain with her family four years ago. They live in Salou, an extremely popular tourist resort located 100 kilometers from Barcelona.
Nora owns a small business, an aesthetics and micropigmentation center that she had to close because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Her husband is still working – he is a truck driver. “People are very scared, Spain has a very big number of death people”, Nora says.
They live in an area where tourism is the main source of income. According to official statistics, Salou registered, in 2019, a total of 8.088.068 overnight stays, which is a 0,8% more than the previous year. Now, everything is closed. Tourists have cancelled their reservations and all workers are unemployed. “It’s a catastrophic year for tourism, and people don’t know what they will do, most of those living on the coast are working in hotels in restaurants. In Salou nothing was opened yet, and we don’t know when this is going to happen. The number of infected persons increases and we have more than 20.000 death people”, Nora says.
A completely different life
“Everyone is very scared”, Nora says, describing a new way of life people had to adapt to, but which no one was prepared for. “They don’t want to have physical contact with anyone, I have clients working in cleaning field, people don’t want them to come and clean their houses, they refuse any kind of contact with anyone”, Nora says.
The social distancing is painful for Spanish people, who are used to socialize a lot. “People often go for a walk, get out for a coffee and a croissant in the morning, eat at terraces in the evening. For them is a shock, they are used to socialize, they are very opened, they like having fun”, Nora says.
People are allowed to go to the supermarkets, but only to those located in their living area. If police stops them, they have to prove with the receipt that they are coming from the supermarket – otherwise the fine is 600 euro. No more than two persons are allowed in the car, and they have to stay diagonally. Only one person from the family can enter the supermarket.
People are waiting outside the supermarket, keeping social distance, only a limited number of people are allowed inside. In supermarkets you have disinfectants and gloves. You find everything you need – but the “craziness of shopping” happened in Spain also, when pandemic has begun.
All medical cabinets are closed, including private ones. All active doctors are in public hospitals, for coronavirus – even doctors of other specializations have been called. Schools, restaurants, hair salons, are all closed. Streets are disinfected twice a day.
There are discussions about freezing the school year. Meanwhile, children attend online classes. But, even in all this so hard situation, or because of that, the authorities have thought about making children smile a little, at least on their birthday. So you can write an email to the local police department when it’s your child’s birthday, and a police car will come under your balcony, with the beacon on. From the car, happy birthday song can be heard, the child’s name is shouted through a megaphone, they start the alarms, the policeman is dancing – everything to make the little one happy. “Children are very happy, they truly feel it’s their birthday”, Nora says.
We have a lot to learn these days, Nora thinks. First, that life is so unpredictable, so it makes no sense raising more than you need – you can be alive today and tomorrow can leave this world. “And I also think people should learn to be better, we should help each other more”, Nora says.
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