People sitting outside on a terrace

People sitting outside on a terrace.

24-11-2020Jose Manuel Vidal

Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Mallorca.

I confess to being sometimes rather smug when talking to our UK based family regarding Covid-19 and all its works. Indeed, I find myself mouthing platitudes such as - “…we seem to be safe enough in our small corner of the island” but we’re not are we? Witness the fact that the small town of S’Arraco just a few kilometres from where we live, has seen an outbreak of the pandemic just when we and many friends of ours who live in or around that pretty town, felt that Covid outbreaks are nothing to do with us.

I suppose it’s easy to fall into a rather blasé state of mind, particularly when living and socialising around a small community. Nevertheless, I like to think that we are mostly alert to the dangers of the pandemic and do our best to adhere to the protocols set in place to protect us. I know that there will always be nay sayers who regard any such measures as impinging on their civil liberties - a thought that had never entered their heads in the past, whatever the restrictions imposed on them from above. A sense of proportion is sometimes not a bad thing to possess in a civil emergency.

QUIZZING MY KIDS

What my family in the United Kingdom do tell me is that there is a large minority of the population that are completely immune from any government Covid-19 diktat, no matter how minor or everyday. For instance, most of us living here in Mallorca take it for granted that when out and about you should wear a facemark - full stop! And if you don’t, certain ‘looks’ will be aimed at you by your fellow citizens.

For instance, I was in my local Mercadona the other morning (sad, but alas true!) when a lady shopper asked to see the manager - then showed her the medical paperwork that allowed her not to wear a face-mask when shopping. I have to say that I was impressed, not just by the woman’s actions, but - also by the diligence of the supermarket staff. When I phoned my grown-up kids the other day for our usual weekend ‘catch-up’ I quizzed them as to how the rules of engagement vis-a-vis Covid-19 regarding masks worked where they live.

They both confirmed what I always suspected i.e. the protocols regarding such things as distancing and the wearing of masks were patchily observed. It seems that wearing masks outside at any given time, just doesn’t happen at all - whereas facemark wearing and social distancing, inside anywhere public such as shops or public facilities is patchy to say the least and mostly down to individual premises to manage properly, or not at all.

Use of the mask outdoors

SHARING YOUR INFORMATION

In some ways I do understand that people are loathe to leave their details when they visit a bar or restaurant as part of new legislation that is currently being drawn up to help trace those who might be innocently caught-up in a Covid outbreak. However, your name address and phone number doesn’t seem to me to be a huge problem and certainly not designed to violate a persons right to privacy, as some would see it.

Probably, the same people who have been denying the existence of Covid-19 for the past nine months. It also has to be said that being part of an island based community, should make it somewhat easier for the authorities to control incoming and outgoing movements and to make at least abetter fist of border controlsunlike countries with porous land borders. I have to say that although I am no expert in terms of Mallorcan politics, most of the governmental protocols seemed to be based upon sound common sense - with just a few caveats to that judgement.

As a person who was stuck in the United Kingdom for nine weeks in the spring, it always seems to me that in terms of the United Kingdom, their idea of a tough lockdown, which it wasn’t and let’s face it - isn’t, even now - was as nothing compared to the full-on lockdown endured by islanders in that same period. I leave you with this thought.

My married daughter tells me that some of her acquaintances have only just recently acquired face-masks, almost nine months after the first signs of outbreak in the UK. And some of us worry about leaving our name address and phone number at a restaurant! Come on, you have to do two parts of that if you just book a table for dinner don’t you?

TIME TO KEEP YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LOCAL!

You wouldn’t have to be a genius to work out that AD 2020 would not go down as a good year for the retail industry. If you want to depress yourself, just drive along the main thoroughfare of any town here in Majorca and the ‘For Sale’ signs and boarded-up windows are everywhere.

I recently had a conversation with Joanna Young, the proprietor of a fashion and gift shop in the Portals Nous, in the Calvia municipality, and I was hugely impressed by her tenacity and positivity in regard to her business. She explained to me how she is arranging her opening hours in a ‘bespoke’ manner for the benefit of her clientele right up to Christmas. She is a leading light in a voucher scheme put together by Ajuntament de Calvia whereupon shoppers can support local businesses whilst at the same time saving money through a voucher scheme.

The scheme proclaims - “Discover the Calvia Marketplace” - “You will find all the offers from shops, restaurants and services, and you will be able to benefit from the discount VOUCHERS which the Town Hall has made available to residents. And all this with a single click! comercio.calvia.com

I have no particular political axe to grind, but I must say that this sort of campaign is just what is needed in these difficult times for local retail operators.

Think about it - do you want local business owners like Joanna Young to succeed - or, for Amazon to make even more billions than they make at the moment. Time to keep it local perhaps?

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