Friday 13th March. Life as we know it was about to change as Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez took many (including me) by surprise and announced that a state of alarm (SOA) would begin in 2 days because of the global pandemic. He then added to the confusion by bringing it forward a day. Confusion would be the theme from here on in.
Sunday 14 March. The Ibiza streets were still busy with families going about their usual business, many in blissful ignorance.
Monday 15 March. The local Police, Civil Protection Agency and the Guardia Civil got to work clearing the streets and reality started to hit home, this wasn’t a drill.
So started 14 long weeks of lockdown which finished at midnight last night. 98 days where social media was the forum of choice as hearsay, rumours and conjecture became the common currency. Facebook groups started to cover information, conspiracy and advice. ‘Ibiza Winter Residents’ became eerily quiet so we knew it must be serious.
Parents became the new teachers overseeing the homeschooling of their children and dogs were allowed out for exercise and had more freedom than most. Ibiza’s population stepped up and the hashtags #QuedateEnCasa and #StayAtHome began to circulate.
Local authorities fined the law breakers using drones and roadblocks became commonplace. Daily press conferences gave updates as we crunched the numbers and became a an extra in our own horror movie.
Queues for supermarkets became longer but the clamour for toilet rolls died down. The Balearics stayed near the bottom of the contagions league table but Can Misses converted an operating theatre into an intensive care ward just in case.
Fernando Simon of Spain’s Ministry of Health became a familiar face on local TV and Lesley Donald revealed that she had a secret crush on him, who’d have thought this strange looking man would become a sex symbol.
Eventually kids were allowed out but a convoluted exercise timetable meant that seniors couldn’t mix with kids and adults either had to have an early walk or a sunset stroll. Many did what they thought they could but in fact they couldn’t even though others were. Confused? You bet we were!
Life slowly returned to some form of normality, dogs lost their unique privileges and the rumour mill now went into overdrive while banks and landlords still charged there monthly fees even though most on the white isle wasn’t working or had no prospect of employment this year.
The numbers dropped but Ibiza continued to be cut off from the world, great for containment but not so good when trying to kickstart the local economy.
Hope started to filter through as the dominoes began to fall and restrictions were lifted. Ibiza became a dystopian paradise where beaches and roads were empty, car parking was plentiful but no tourism meant no jobs or income for many. The line between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have-nots’ had never been clearer.
Now after nearly 100 days it’s time to get back to a new normality where we try to claw back what we’ve lost but do it as only Ibiza knows how, with style and a naughty smile.
Many lockdown lessons have been learned and even through the darkest days solidarity shined through. Let’s hope that Ibiza emerges softer, more aware of itself, more welcoming but also not prepared to sell its soul for the tourist dollar.
Thanks to everyone who read and shared my updates during the crisis. Special thanks to the amazingly energetic Lesley Donald who will continue to post on all forums until there are no numbers to talk of , the wily ‘Lady’ Tricia Templeton whose common sense and wit kept us going and Julian Cobby for his acerbic daily take on the unfolding events before us.
It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions where hope and positivity always shined through. Please let us never have to do it again but if we do please let me be in Ibiza with a cupboard full of wine, a sunset view and an internet connection.