Published in El Pais, 12 September 2020.
On the side to make some extra money I have been delivering food part time. I take all of the necessary precautions, mask at all times, stay apart while waiting for delivery and for the most part do a contactless delivery where I leave the delivery in front of the apartment or house and send a photo to alert the customer their meal has arrived. This of course means that I am out far more frequently than most people. While out, I have witnessed quarantine fatigue as people are clearly ready for this to be over despite the end being far off. Here are a few of things I have witnessed.
Mask Tantrums. Like almost everywhere in the world masks are mandatory indoors. This law has upset many and they refuse to wear it, forcing the hands of restaurants and shops who are the ones in charge of enforcing this law. One incident I saw two people enter the restaurant mask less wanting to eat on the patio, when they were asked to put on their masks they said they didn’t need them as they were going to be outside, this turned into an argument before they finally relented by putting the masks on but under their nose. When they were told to wear it properly one of them yelled, “Really?!”.
Crowded Gatherings. Many restaurants are adhering to strict social distancing with minimal capacity, but many are not. Countless times I have seen restaurants packed as if things were normal. This is not limited to restaurants as I have witnessed weddings and parks full of people. These gatherings are clearly causing new cases as our province has seen an uptick in cases and there are reports in the news about outbreaks at restaurants, weddings, and church gatherings.
Worker Comradery. It cannot all be bad. Some restaurants try to keep delivery people safe by having a special waiting area away from the crowds, offering us hand sanitizerand preparing our order as soon as possible to limit contact. Some even offer us something to drink should we wait too long. It may not seem like much but sometimes it is the little things that lift your spirits.