Coronavirus in Spain: How the lockdown is impacting us as a family

Coronavirus in Spain: How the lockdown is impacting us as a family
A woman takes a photo of her child outside the usually overcrowded Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. Photo: AFP
As Spain's lockdown lingers on, Barcelona-based journalist Graham Keeley asks what it will mean for his family's summer holidays, his children's education and the jobs that keep the family unit afloat.

Normally at this time of year, we would celebrate with an Easter egg hunt and invite a gaggle of children but this year numbers will be a little depleted.

Our three boys will snaffle all the chocolate. Not everything about coronavirus is bad!

Tomorrow will mark four weeks in confinement and the reality of life is starting to sink in.

The novelty has gone and we are starting to look ahead to what this will mean for the rest of the year.

Even if, as seems likely, the lockdown ends some time in May, how will it impact on us as a family?

Will this mean the children go back to school? Probably not. Imagine sending millions of children back to mix with each other and all that means; it would surely be a madness.

Then your mind wanders to summer holidays already booked. We have already tried to change flights to, of all places, Venice. We have struggled on the line to a certain low-cost carrier for hours, like many others.

Summer holidays loom ahead and we start to wonder if we will be travelling anywhere this year.

However, lurking at the back of our minds is the question of what will happen to our jobs: the big worry.

Without having any control on all of this, we try to muddle through on a day-to-day basis, with old fashioned games like bobbing for apples, skipping contests and picking Kit Kats off wire suspended over our trampoline; (anything to keep them off the dreaded screens!).

Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, struck an optimistic tone when he told the parliament that “the fire starts to come under control”.

He has the unenviable job of deciding if and when we return to 'normal' life.

Yet, I have the impression, life will not be quite the same for a long while.

Epidemiologists have predicted a second wave of the virus as often happens with pandemics.

Preventing this from happening will depend on political leadership at a local level to clampdown when outbreaks are spotted in towns and cities.

Meanwhile, I am sure we will be walking around wearing masks.

Many of us will remain at home working there, looking after children. Offices will be almost empty, restaurants, bars and beaches likewise.

One hopes Spain's politicians can resist the childish temptation to squabble to win points off each other and see the bigger picture. 

This is an excerpt from the latest in our series 'Coronavirus around Europe' in which our journalists describe the situation in the country they are in and look ahead to what might come next.



Graham Keeley is a Spain-based freelance journalist who covered the country for The Times from 2008 to 2019. Follow him on Twitter @grahamkeeley .

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