The impact of lockdown on expats on Spain's Costa Blanca north

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Clark and Suzi Hartwell said keeping their kids occupied has kept them busy during lockdown. CREDIT: Clark and Suzi Hartwell

As Spain moves towards the “new normal” phase by phase, and the Costa Blanca enjoys a little more freedom with the easing of lockdown, local expats spoke to EWN about the impact the coronavirus health crisis has had on their lives.


CREDIT: Clark and Suzi Hartwell

SUZI and Clark Hartwell of mosquito and pest control company, Fog Off, have been fortunate in that there were only 10 days during lockdown they couldn’t work.
Suzi said: “We have been quite lucky in that respect, being able to work for much of the lockdown, taking all the necessary precautions.
“The biggest challenge for us has been keeping our three children occupied. They are aged eight to 16 and have had to do their homework, which they haven’t wanted to do, so it’s been a case of bribing them to get it done and then we can do fun things, quizzes, making cakes, that sort of thing.
“I think we will all appreciate the little things more now, even just going out for a walk together.”
Nursery school assistant Lisa Pawson, 29, has struggled most with the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“Like many people, I haven’t been able to work. I’ve got a seven-year-old daughter, so needed to be at home for her anyway, and it has been special having extra time together.
“But I have felt very anxious, about a lot of things, not just about coronovirus, but also about money and my daughter’s schooling.
“Having a bit more freedom has helped, I’ve not been going to bars, but being able to go for walks and to the shops, that feeling of a bit of normality, helps keep things in perspective.”
CREDIT: John Fenton

Local builder John Fenton was completely honest and said the hardest part has been losing the social side of life.
“Not being able to go to the pub was defnitely hard. It’s a routine of mine really, finish work and pop into my local for a pint.
“It’s not just about drinking, you catch up with everyone. For loads of people, the pub is the social hub and might be the only time they talk to anyone. I’m lucky, I’m not on my own. I feel for people who live alone, they must have felt very isolated during lockdown.
“Not being able to work was difficult for obvious reasons, and being self-employed, I didn’t earn anything. Big incentive to get back to work.”
Jean Stephenson, 72, lives alone and said the biggest challenge was dealing with not seeing her family.
“It’s been really hard not seeing my daughters and sons, I have found that really, really difficult. I normally see one of them every few weeks and it doesn’t help not knowing exactly when I’ll see them again because of flights.
“There’s been lots of phone calls, we’ve stayed in touch every day almost, but it’s not the same. And I don’t have a computer, or social media, so talking on the phone is the only way to know how everyone is.
“It’s funny how quickly you can get into a new routine though, I’ve been keeping busy decluttering and gardening during lockdown, and have now started venturing out a bit more, only to the shops really at the moment.”

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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