I rang my colleague Frank Leavers this week to meet for a coffee, which we try to do at least once a month for a catch up. When he suddenly said, hang on Richie as of tomorrow we can’t they’re all shut! That was the realisation that we are pretty much back to where we started 10 months ago. This is not formally a lockdown but let’s face it, it might as well be. They say our curfew is 22.00 but “Best be home by 20.00 hrs”, what does that mean? It’s like being a teenager again.
I personally think the Government hasn’t read the room and this last change was the straw that broke the camels back. The protests in Palma on Tuesday and the rumblings of discontent amongst the coalition partners, Podemos and Mes means they’re walking a tightrope.
President Armengol is saying all the measures are to protect the health service which is all well and good. But she and her Government also have a duty to protect people’s lives in other ways too. Housing, jobs and other health issues. Reports out this week show that the demand for people using foodbanks in the municipality of Calvia is up 80%. I made a point of going out this past week and visiting the people that are helping others at this time.
As part of the work we did on our Radio One Mallorca Christmas Appeal we’ve been able to help the food banks with much needed supplies. Last Saturday we went shopping with Nick at Yachting Gives Back and delivered everything to the Asociació Tardor in Palma. They are currently cooking over 1000 meals a day and that number seems to be going up on a daily basis.
On Wednesday we paid for a delivery of a pallet of tomato frito for SOS Calvia. Manuel Más and his team have done an amazing job helping people in the area. That number is currently around 250 but increasing. He has been helped by Manuel at Highland Gold in Son Bugadellas who is using his buying power and offering his storage facilities too.
On Thursday we went shopping with the Santa Ponsa Food Bank. They’re a group of volunteers from the Santa Ponsa Community Church who have only just set themselves up, but they are already helping over 100 people. We couldn’t have done any of the above without the help of our very generous listeners and we will continue with as much help as we can.
Back to the Governments reaction. My problem right now is there doesn’t seem to be a proper plan. They seem to be reacting to what is happening rather than putting the right measures in place. The first lockdown was full on but let’s remember that the numbers were a lot lower than they are now. We were put into a National Lockdown by the National Government who were trying to curb the outbreaks in Madrid and Cataluña. There is now widespread testing which shows more people have the virus but that wasn’t available first time round. Thus making the recorded numbers higher. I can’t for the life of me think that the bars, cafes and restaurants that were open, which weren’t that many by the way, were actually contributing greatly to the spread. Only the outside terraces were open and all tables were socially distanced. If there was a problem then the Police should have been policing them rather than setting up roadblocks everywhere checking peoples papers. My idea would be if any bar, restaurant or cafe were seen to be flouting the rules, firstly warn them, secondly fine them and the final time close them for a period of time.
The problem is undoubtedly in the supermarkets or larger shops where people can congregate. What they’ve done in Calvia is close off part of their parking, which I imagine is to stop too many people going inside. However if you can’t get a space everybody else is just parking on the streets outside. So no change.
Granted all this is not easy but these people have been voted in to make ultimately difficult decisions. Remember they haven’t taken a pay cut so they’re not feeling the effects that the rest of the island is.
I will take my family as an example. I am on the Erte(furlough). Pirates where I work is a theatre that was closed due to the restrictions. My Wife has had her Theatre Academy shut which after 12 years of hard work has been tough for her. Especially when no financial help has been offered. Although dance schools which are part of a federation can stay open, how is that fair? My sons are at school which is better than before but my eldest is only going in 3 days one week and two the next. Why? Have you heard of any serious outbreaks in schools? We are failing our children if we can’t offer a full-time education.
They are allowed to train twice a week at football which is great, as exercise is vitally important but not allowed to play games which I think is a little tough. They had organised for my eldest that they would play the same team home and away with a weeks gap in between. That was working fine before Christmas but it at the moment it’s been stopped. My youngest hasn’t played a game all season which I still don’t get.
I know we’re not alone in this, we’ll get through it but others won’t and we’re failing our people if we don’t offer help.
They must start rolling out the vaccine as quickly as they can as this is obviously the clearest way forward.
It’s tough out there but keep your heads up and always check on family and friends who might need help at this time.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
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