The Soller world this week could best be called ‘Shifting Sands’. Rules and reiteration of government edicts have been followed by retractions and cancellations. Open the doors, don’t open the doors, spread tables and chairs into the square, don’t spread tables into the square. This goes on as all try to make sense of what is and isn’t allowed. Most of us are just glad we don’t have to make the rules and be accountable for the mayhem.
If you visited us tomorrow (and we hope you do) you will find Soller square shops largely open for business. Two new Estate Agents have been quietly getting on with their refurbishments and are now beautifully established ready to go. Some places have ‘For Sale’ signs up as the lockdown was the end of the road for their business. You will struggle to find a place to have a coffee. One corner of the square has socially distant tables, sanitizers and no menus which are the rules. Only problem is that people like to sit and chat over the coffee while a queue for the seats build up.
The hairdressers and beauticians opened this week and are very busy. The men’s hair of the Valley has been interesting to watch as they have all gone for the 70’s hippy look. They are busy taking selfie’s because this week more business meetings are taking place, the haircuts in advance will happen.
The Police continue patrolling the streets very slowly in their cars. Every now and then they will stop you and ask questions about where you are going and what part of the complicated rules you are likely to have infringed. We are all mighty bored with this now and much as the respect is still there some of the pettiness has to be questioned. Moving on to the next phase of lockdown can’t come quick enough for some.
Meanwhile down in the Puerto Soller the Police find plenty of work to do. This huge, pristine, horse shoe bay is longing for children to play and all to swim. Not allowed say the rules unless you are in the designated area for water sports taken as exercise. On the Repic beach the brave families setting up their bucket and spade space are soon moved on and given fines by the law enforcers. The beach bars with sand in front of them are the safer places because you come under a different set of rules there but the sea is still out of bounds.
In some ways this needs recording because in a few weeks’ time this will be a memory. Kids will say to one another ‘do you remember the summer we could only look at the beach and not go in the sea’. The Puerto Soller has a few cafes open but most gave up the struggle, the first couple of days of being open showed them the trend. The novelty value on day one gave them customers and then days of nothing. Most have now decided to open at weekends only until visitors are allowed to arrive.
The hotel chatter is reaching the people as plans for re opening or not are being made. The larger hotels have big decisions to make and the rumour mill says that some will not open at all for 2020. This is particularly hard on the staff who had just arrived for the season as the lockdown started. They remained here without family or friends and now they face the prospect of no job and returning home. No flights anywhere much for the next month so they are stuck with no job, no money and not in the place they want to be if they are not working.
The Soller Soup Kitchen opens this week and is centred at the Es Puig school. The poverty of our Valley is not going away and the use of the Food Banks soars. Local people make regular donations to the collection trolley in Eroski and more make financial contributions. As this crisis continues this will become even more of a problem as it is still unclear which companies will actually be in a position to employ staff this year. The good work here is tireless to make sure that the vulnerable in all age groups are looked out for. It certainly takes a Village to look after its own in a crisis.