I haven’t blogged much recently, it’s a bit of a weird time to write new posts and talk about ‘normal’ things when life isn’t very normal!
I’ve had a few messages from real-life friends and social media friends recently asking about how things in Spain are as stories in the UK press haven’t been to positive, so I thought I would post an update on what’s going on here right now…
You’ve probably read that Spain is experiencing a ‘second wave’ right now, but while there are more cases here that seems to be partly down to more widespread testing. The cases are mainly in younger people (who have been partying and clubbing) and most are asymptomatic. The number of deaths has risen but it is nowhere near as bad as during March and April. There’s no big panic in the hospitals and no plans for a second lockdown – the Government has said there won’t be another national lockdown. It’s obviously worse in cities like Madrid and Barcelona but in quieter areas like ours there are still no cases.
We’ve been wearing masks in Spain since May and this is mandatory, unlike in the UK! Masks must be worn in all shops and public spaces, the only exceptions are when you are eating and drinking, on the beach, or swimming. You don’t see anyone walking around without a mask, no one is using excuses not to wear them, and no one is arguing about it with staff in shops. There are fines of up to €100 for not wearing a mask and everyone over the age of 6 has to wear one. Remember also that it’s very hot here at the moment – around 34 degrees most days where we are – and even little kids and the elderly are wearing them without complaining. It’s not nice and most people aren’t venturing too far as it’s too hot to wear a mask for long.
People who have been back to the UK or who have been here on holiday have said that they feel much safer in Spain with the strict rules around wearing masks, hand sanitising in every shop and bar, and strict social distancing rules everywhere.
If you need masks we’ve bought some excellent ones from Masks For All – they are a Spanish company but ship worldwide. They’re comfortable, washable, and come in lots of great patterns and designs. If you want a discount you can use my code DM10. They also do brilliant anti-fog wipe which is good if you have to wear a mask and glasses/sunglasses.
Thanks to the UK implementing a 14 day quarantine for anyone returning from Spain there aren’t many tourists around at the moment. This might sound nice when you think about getting a space on the beach but no tourists means that a lot of bars, shops and restaurants are closing down as they don’t have enough business to stay open. We went to Benidorm in July – the hotel was full of Spanish and a few French, no English, and the park Mundo Mar was deserted.
The quarantine also means that expats like us have been stopped from visiting family because we can’t fly to the UK and stay in a hotel room for 14 days. Family that were coming to visit us (who we haven’t seen in over a year) have also had to cancel because they can’t take so much time off work. We obviously understand the risks of letting people travel at the moment but it is hard when you miss family, especially for people like my parents who haven’t seen their grandchildren in England since January, and for Little H who misses her other grandparents and cousins in the UK.
We’re very lucky that for us things are really busy work-wise, having different freelance clients is the way to go so that if something like this happens and a client cancels you still have other money coming in!
Jobs in Spain are very scarce though, especially with so many businesses closing down due to lack of tourism. Unemployment in Spain was already high before Covid and it looks like it will only get worse. If you have plans to move to Spain I would really recommend finding something remote or on a freelance basis before you move rather than trying to find work when you get here.
We don’t really know what’s happening with school. Little H is supposed to go back on 7th September but we’ve yet to have any communication from the school. The Government announced this week that all kids will go back at the start of September and each region will set their own rules. It looks like masks will have to be worn, class sizes will be smaller, temperatures will be taken, and start times may be staggered. School in September is only from 9-1 anyway as it’s still so hot, but we will have to wait and see what the plan is.
Luckily we don’t need to buy uniform or school shoes so it can be a bit last minute. I’m just praying that we don’t have to try and home school in Spanish again!
For us things have been busy even though we haven’t really been out and about – the heat and masks have stopped us from going on days out and walking far. We have moved house though which has kept us busy, we finally completed on the house we put a deposit on back in February before all this craziness started! It’s great to have our own place after renting for our first year here and even better that we have our own pool to cool down in!
As the weather gets back down to below 30 in September we hope to get back to a few days out and exploring the region a bit more.
How are things where you are at the moment? If you have any questions about how thing are in Spain right now feel free to ask – always best to get the story from someone actually in Spain rather than from the UK press!