Coronavirus crisis: the impact on expats' lives on Spain’s Costa Almeria

CAPTION: Sean and wife Beatriz

AS the Costa Almeria looks forward to a further easing of the lockdown restrictions when the whole province moves into phase two of the de-escalation on Monday, local expats talk to EWN about the impact the pandemic has had on their lives.
Sean McMahon, Tikar Restaurant, Hotel & Wine Shop
As a local small business owner, Covid-19 undeniably is financially worrisome for us. However I find the largest impact to be the psychological toll of the inaccessibility to my parents in the US.
I have always had the ability to be by their sides in a relatively short time. Historically I have belittled the distances, claiming the physical separation really does not matter in our modern world. Having lost that pretense has forced me to confront the emotional ramifications of the distance I choose to live away from my loved ones, of the lack of capability to hold them close when we all need it most.
Ann Marshall, Dames in Spain Mojacar Vice Chairman and Publicity Officer

Without a doubt, for me the biggest impact of the current situation has been the loneliness and isolation.
Not being able to ring friends up and say are you free for a coffee or do you fancy going to…
Yes I still phone my friends, but it is not the same as talking face-to-face.
The highlight of my day became the 8 o’clock ‘clapalong’, when I’d get the chance to wave to my five or so neighbours.
Now we are allowed to use the bars I haven’t yet been out. Neither have some of my friends, but we all have set a date for the long awaited coffee soon!
Les Raufer, Aguilon Golf Members Club Handicap Secretary

Being a golfer I am used to playing three times a week, which for those who walk the course equates to 33km per week, and if using a buggy about 10km per week. To go from that amount of exercise to nothing for nine weeks has been a difficult physical and mental challenge, as well as missing all the after game social interaction.
Now at last the golf course is open we can enjoy the fresh air and exercise once again, with some variations, making sure that we comply with the social distancing regulations.
One thing that it has proved is how important exercise is, not only from the physical aspect, but just as important for the mental wellbeing of us all.
Joanne Desmond, Olive Properties

I could talk about the effect Covid19 has had on our business and our worries about the future, however I feel the biggest impact the virus has had on me has been on a personal level.
My father passed away on March 13. He had lived with my mother in Spain for over 10 years and had a holiday home here for years before this.
They are both a huge part of our lives and my children have grown up with grandparents nearby, which has been very lucky for them and us.
My father had struggled with dementia for many years and we all tried (especially my mother), to keep him active and give him as good a life as possible. We slowly watched a great character, a fabulous public speaker and an amazingly honest and faithful man disappear before us. He then contracted pneumonia and our last visit with him in hospital involved wearing masks, gowns and gloves. The virus has robbed us of giving him the proper memorial he deserves and has robbed us of closure.
However, oddly on a positive note it has meant that both my children, one who is at dance school in London and the other who was on a year out in Australia, were here at the time and have been a massive support for the family, especially my mother. Strangely this horrible virus has meant we have spent more time together as a family, more time to grieve together, more time talking to friends, and for me more time remembering my father. We have been able to talk for hours whether on FaceTime or Zoom or face-to-face, whereas normally we would never have had the time to do this.
So there are positives from negatives.
Many people will have lost family and friends. This strange time has given us more time I feel to really remember them and take the time to do so.
We will all live our lives differently after this, and maybe be more appreciative of family and good friends.
Anne Anstey, pensioner

Who would have thought a couple of months ago, everyone’s lives would change overnight as if a light had been turned off.
Taking my dogs over the countryside suddenly changing to a restricted distance and length of time made things feel very eerie. One person in a car meant I couldn’t go out as I no longer drive: no going to the supermarket or even a coffee changed my weekly routines.
It was because social life came to a standstill that I decided to do a regular Saturday sing-a-long from my roof terrace. It made me feel sorry for people living on their own, the disabled or elderly, so I decided perhaps I could cheer people up and lift their spirits.
Now things have changed, but life is not back to normal yet.
We must thank everyone who has helped us get where we are, and so many more who have risked their own lives for us. And as we go forward we must not abuse all that has been set out for the future, but be patient and take each day as it comes, thanking our lucky stars we are still alive.

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Written by

Cathy Elelman

Cathy Elelman is the local writer for the Costa de Almeria edition of the Euro Weekly News.

Based in Mojacar for the last 21 years, Cathy is very much part of the local community and is always well and truly up on all the latest news and events going on in this region of Spain.

Her top goals are to do the best job she can informing the local English-speaking community, visitors to the area and the wider world about about the news in Almeria, to learn something new every day, and to embrace very new challenge this fast-changing world brings her way.

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