February 28th 2020 was the last time we went out with our friends.
We drove to Argostoli for drinks and dinner. I remember the date well because it was a birthday celebration which coincided with the shocking news that the carnival was to be cancelled. The parades and the parties would not happen…the costumes and the floats, the hardwork and organisation and the joy the carnival brings were suddenly taken from us. We sat in a bar that was wonderfully decorated for carnival feeling a bit deflated and bewildered. We didn’t realise then that the lockdown would gradually tighten and life for a while would be totally changed. Over the coming days restaurants, tavernas, cafes and shops would be ordered to close unless they provided take-away only, or ‘essential’ goods such as pharmacies and supermarkets and we were asked to socially distance when we went out. As we adapted to that we were shocked by government broadcasted messages to our mobiles (we don’t have TV) telling us to stay home.
On 23rd March tighter restrictions soon followed (that are still in use now) – we can only leave our homes for certain reasons and we have to register our intentions via mobile phone or with a paper before leaving the house. Once outside we are obliged to carry our ID and be prepared to be checked by the police. So far, as much as I know, on the island we’ve had one confirmed case and two suspected cases publicised. Everyday we can access news about how many people have broken and been fined for breaking the restrictions. The first time we went shopping since the strict measures were introduced was weird as we entered the store we were given gloves to wear and we shopped as glass screens were being erected around the cashiers desk and measured taped markings were being placed on the ground. I’d like to say a massive “Thank you” to all of the supermarkets in the area who have had everything we have needed and have remained positive and friendly through these extremely surreal times whilst ensuring our safety, and to Dimitra in the post office.
We go shopping for essentials about once a week, we take our dog out for a walk most days. We are lucky as we have a beautiful view, some land and the internet!!!! So I am looking forward to seeing our friends again soon, restarting work and going swimming!
Stay safe and see you soon.