The Gamechanger

Everything has changed within a few days. This time last week we were still going about our business albeit with Covid19 at the back of our minds but now it’s firmly right in front of our eyes.

Every country has their own way of dealing with things. The Spanish were in denial but are now facing up to reality and the country will shut down completely for a minimum of 2 weeks. The Italians were late to address the problem and have paid dearly. Denmark has taken drastic measures even though they haven’t had a major outbreak while other countries try to prevent rather than contain.

No one really knows the right or wrong way to do things, this is unprecedented territory especially in a world with 24-hour news channels showcasing ‘experts’ while millions tweet their uneducated and sometimes downright ridiculous views directly from their sofa (or the Oval Office). Everyone wants to be part of this debate.

The mainstream media, who have their own agenda, have been peddling their own project fear for weeks. It’s what they do, it sells copy and draws viewing figures and pushes up advertising revenues but also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Unfortunately some viewers, many who still think that Love Island is the real world, take it all in verbatim.

Interestingly the United Kingdom has taken a different approach to the rest by trying to carry on as normal but with clear instructions to the many thousands that will contract the illness in the coming weeks, it’s called herding immunity. Their position is that if they take drastic measures now then when the virus is at its most dangerous the population will be fatigued. An ‘interesting’ gamble.

What’s clear is that this new strain of virus is very dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions and it’s this part of our community that need the most protection and care. Over 95% of people who contract the virus will shake it off in a natural way and carry on their lives normally, so although the virus needs to be taken very seriously, this isn’t the Black Death either. Another caveat is that so far children haven’t been greatly affected by the virus but can spread the disease. It’s like a giant game of chess with lives and livelihoods at stake.

Here in Ibiza the reality is just hitting home that this summer will be like no other. From denial to anger to a realisation that the early part of the season will be a write off. Many hotels won’t even open until there is a clear indication that the virus is on the downturn. Let’s hope we all need a holiday after this.

The UK experts calculate that the peak will come in 10-14 weeks which takes us into mid to late June but things could get better before then. The best case scenario is that the summer season that traditionally starts in earnest in early May gets put back 6-8 weeks but it’s an evolving situation.

It’s not about profit anymore. It’s about survival, not only in a human sense but in business. The knock-on effect for the Ibiza economy will be nothing short of disastrous, just think of all those hotel cleaners and maintenance staff who won’t have a job or whose contracts will be downsized to match demand.

This is a time to follow the experts advice but also help your neighbours wherever possible, it’s a true test of human nature. Common sense isn’t something in mass abundance nowadays but it’s exactly what’s required. The changing situation can go both ways but it’s time to cut your cloth accordingly, prepare for the worst but also hope for the best.

Hopefully we can all come out of it with nothing worse than experience and we can look back and say that 2020 was the year that changed everything but made us stronger and, in Ibiza’s case, be more appreciative of what we had in the first place.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

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