As we approach a year since we first went into lockdown back in the UK, here in Barbados, the decision has been made to ease some of the restrictions that have been in place since the 3rd of February.
I was a little surprised as the numbers still aren’t great. However, I think it comes down to a mix of economic concerns, and (we are told) that all the new cases are coming from just a few identifiable clusters, limited to a few distinct households.
As you can see from the graph, the curve is moving in the right direction. The first half of the recent double peak reflects the prison outbreak back in January. If you “ignore” that peak, you can see a steady increase followed by a steady decline. Fingers crossed, that this trend continues.
Unfortunately, deaths continue to rise, as is always the case as people infected 2 or 3 weeks ago succumb to the serious complications of the virus.
Anyway, we are now permitted to visit the beach between 3pm and 6pm as well as our 6am to 9am slot. The nighttime curfew between 7pm and 6am remains in place but the weekend curfew has been lifted.
Some shops have been allowed to re-open, and restaurants are allowed to provide curb-side pick-ups (takeaways). Supermarkets are still operating under restricted hours but can open on Saturdays now.
It means a lot in terms of what we can do! We can exercise in the morning slot and maybe go for a swim in the afternoon, rather than cramming it all in in the morning. This means we don’t really need to get up at 5am every morning, but so far we have found it hard to break the habit. We seem to have discovered the joys of being out and about at sunrise. It’s cool and the light is incredible. There is something to be said for having spent 3 hours exercising at the beach and still have the whole day ahead of you as you enjoy a coffee on the balcony at 9am!
Shopping wise the implications are tremendous. Because the vegetable street vendors are open again, we don’t need to go to the supermarket as often and stand in the long lines in the sun. But, because, like us, other people don’t need to go to the supermarket as often now, and we don’t have the pre-weekend panic buying, the lines are shorter anyway. The fish market is open again now too, so we’re going down to buy a big fish today and get the freezer re-stocked!
For me, it’s just nice to know that I don’t have to cook every single meal, every single day, if I don’t want to now. The option of picking up a roti or something special from one of our favourites eating places is something comforting to have in my back pocket. It’s the little things.
The vaccination programme seems to be well underway, even if it does seem to have been a little chaotic in it’s implementation. M registered on the 17th of February for an appointment but has heard nothing since. They said that once all the over 70’s had been given theirs, they would start working through younger people with underlying medical conditions, like him. However, it seems that the general public have been turning up at vaccination centres without appointments and are being given the vaccination regardless. Meanwhile, the people they say they are prioritising, wait at home for appointments that never materialise.
Whether you have an appointment or not, if what we have been told is true, you are looking at a wait in the sun of 4 or 5 hours.
On a more positive note, Immigration called me during lockdown to tell me that my citizenship has been approved and, when the office re-opened this week, I was able to go in and pay my fee. Now I just need to wait for them to send out my certificate and I’m good to go for an ID Card and a Passport!
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we’ve been trying to keep fit during our time here and I recently decided to start a Couch to 5K programme. So far, I’m up to running for 20 minutes in two intervals with a short walk in between, and its going surprisingly well! Today, we also took part in an aqua-robics session in the sea!
The only other bit of news is that we’re moving next week. This house is far too big for us and we don’t really use the pool as much as we thought we might. We have found a lovely 2 bedroom apartment, walking distance from a gorgeous little beach, for a fraction of the price we are paying for this place. When we booked this, we were expecting that some friends and family would have come out to visit us in the new year. Of course, this has not been possible so when we decided to extend our stay, we also decided to look for somewhere smaller. We will stay there for anther three and a half months before we come home on the 1st of July – all being well …