RESIDENTS and business owners in Spain’s Costa Blanca South region have been reflecting on the lockdown and the aftermath.
The country’s State of Alarm measures saw a tight set of isolation measures introduced in mid-March in the battle to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Most businesses had to close their doors and people were told to stay at home, unless they needed food supplies and medical attention.
Those rules had varying impacts across the local community, and loosening started at the beginning of May, which saw children being allowed out with their parents, through to general permission for outdoor walks and exercises.
That then culminated in the phased reopening of the area, as Spain seeks to hit a ‘new normal’ by the end of June, which will also feature the return of international tourism.
But how much have individuals in the southern Costa Blanca been counting the economic and personal cost of the strict lockdown in March and April?
The Euro Weekly News spoke to four people with very different takes and perspectives on what happened to them during the crisis.
Alex Bacche is the manager of the Dirty and Happy Dog Centre situated between Quesada and Los Montesinos.
The facility was totally closed during the lockdown and that brought bad and good news for him.
“We had to stop helping all of the dog owners for two months, and I was on my own on the site, as I had to let two of my colleagues go during the crisis,” said Alex.
“On the plus side, the spare time allowed me to set up a whole new set of kennels which once we get a licence through, will give us the chance to offer boarding facilities.”
Coming out of lockdown has seen some normality return as Alex explains:
“We’ve resumed our dog training classes, though we can only have limited numbers, but at least we now are back in business.”
Graham Jones spends most of the year living in Surrey in the UK, and so has had his stay extended in his holiday home in Torrevieja, since he arrived at the end of February.
“The biggest problem during the crisis has been rearranging flights to return back home and then seeing them cancelled,” Graham told the EWN.
“Last month I reached the view that I was safer here than anywhere else, and if have to stay longer, then I’m not bothered any more, especially as everything is reopening.”
Like with many single people, loneliness was an issue for Graham during the lockdown.
“I like my own company, but two months of it was taking it a bit far,” he chortled.
That loneliness factor also applied to Joyce Holder, who told the EWN that she was “absolutely frightened” during the pandemic and even though the lockdown has eased, she’s been keeping any walks from her Playa Flamenca flat to a minimum.
“I don’t drive because I left that to my husband Bob, who passed away three years ago.
“During the lockdown I just stayed at home, and got friends to drop off my shopping outside the main door of our apartment building.
“I wasn’t lonely as I got to FaceTime my children and grandchildren every day, but I continue to be really scared of catching the coronavirus as I’m in my senior years,” Joyce added.
“I now go shopping, but can’t wait to get back home every time, as I think that the virus will not go away soon.”
Leon Butlin lives with his partner Maria and their son Leonardo in Los Montesinos, and he says that a very positive aspect of the pandemic lockdown was that he was able to enjoy a lot more quality time with them.
“I was involved in some home schooling and it was really good to be with my family,” Leon said.
“It was all very much a personal upside to what’s happened over the last few months, and we almost treated it like a very long Christmas holiday.”
Leon runs a hair salon and the negative aspect of the lockdown was clear to him: “It was missing out on seeing people who are my friends, but the return to some kind of normality has been very good as my appointment book is full!”