So things around the world are slowing beginning to open up as the planet struggles to make sense of the new safety precautions that have become a daily thing in the wake of Covid-19. Here in Dubai (with the government’s help) we are making strict and educated risks when trying to integrate back in to some semblance of normality. No one last year could have foreseen the economic and societal hardships we’re facing and it often feels like we are living in some weird futuristic dystopian reality that we would normally watch on Netflix, but here we are people. This is it!
So how has this new, yet ever changing ‘normal’ affected the way we engage with the outside world? Now that we are all slowly lifting the blinds and edging our rusty front doors open to peep outside, we are forever weighing up just how far we are willing to go in pursuit of normality and sanity in these crazy times.
Let’s see what my band mates think of this.
“Well, aside from strapping on a mask and taking my scooter for a run (as it hadn’t seen pavement in 4 + months), I was able to join some friends for one of their birthday lunches as well as to meet two couples new babies. It was so great to see people outside of our homes and away from a computer screen. It was also the first time I’ve stepped foot in Pier 7 (The Scene) in the Marina. It was a great time, though I’m still playing on the side of caution. It was pretty empty during lunch which was awesome (how many would say they would be happy to sit in an empty restaurant/pub?), so I was pretty comfortable not being really close to people I didn’t know. Actually, haha, slowly coming out of total isolation, I feel I’m going to have to kick my new found agoraphobia!”
It’s so true Jean, all this time spent indoors is having a very real impact on a lot of people and their ability to come back to the land of the many. I think we are all so much more wary of those around us now. It’s sad times but this is the fallout I guess.
“With the unbearable Summer heat here in Dubai, it was a relief to know the malls had opened up again for kids. Just to be able to take Luke out for a wander and a change of scenery on a quiet weekday has been great! We are so lucky to have a pool in our building (which is now open again and always quiet) as he loves the water and it’s a great way to burn off energy. We also started taking him back to his swimming classes on The Palm, where they have all the safety measures in place.
Most things are open as normal now and I think it’s totally a personal choice as to how you want to deal with venturing back out into the world. Some people seem to be acting like the pandemic never happened, but we’d prefer to err on the side of caution for now.”
“I just don’t understand how people could still willingly go to public gatherings when there’s a pandemic still going on. It’s one thing to buy the necessities to survive (food and medicine), but it’s another to go brunching on the weekends or attend mass gatherings without following safety protocols. I wouldn’t even dare take a taxi around town because how do we 100% know if the driver has wiped down and disinfected the entire vehicle in between customers and has been wearing gloves and a mask the entire work day?
Absolutely no one comes within 2 meters of myself, or my family (if we do leave the house and has been this way since the middle of March). Lately we’ve been going swimming in our building’s swimming pool (which our son Luke absolutely loves) and we strategically go there during the day, never on the weekends, and have the pool all to ourselves! Hopefully one day things will start to go back to the way things were and we can see more than 4 people in person and have a pool party! Yay!”
“I am high risk so being as careful as I can. I am back playing a solo gig on Fridays in Hard Rock Cafe and have ventured to the shops a few times, but on the whole I am staying home and keeping myself safe until further notice. We keep our circle small and everything that comes in the house is wiped down and we literally only see my sister, Will and Luke and sporadically maybe 3 specific friends who are also being careful.”
For me, as I live with Gary, we are taking every precaution to keep him safe so I have been the only one leaving the house for groceries etc. If I have to go to the mall for the opticians etc I have to take a taxi because I don’t drive. I’m sure lots of people (me included) would choose not to take a taxi but many of us don’t have the luxury of driving so it has to be done. Precautions are that you wear a mask and gloves and roll down the window so the air circulates, so that’s what I do and shower on getting home.
The only thing I do once a week is go Stand-Up Paddleboarding with a small group of friends. I feel comfortable doing that as of course you are outdoors in circulating air, we socially distance and are on separate boards out on the sea. So I feel it’s a safe bet and a well-measured risk. It also has been my sanity in all of this lockdown as I’m someone who needs to get out of the house each day and I look forward to it every week.
Also this week, the kids went back to school so Rosie will keep her distance as much as possible from Gary in the house while she’s attending although the schools are going to every length to keep the kids safe. They are temperature tested on the school bus, then again going in to school. The classes are small and kids kept apart. They have to wear masks and stay in their class all day and the teachers open all doors to cut the hand contact on door handles. Also toilets are cleaned every hour and every second cubicle is closed with plastic sheeting between. These poor kids! But at least they are back in school with their peers and learning again to keep their minds busy. We will take that as a win at the moment.
So how far are you willing to go? Everyone is different of course and having a high risk person at home heightens everything, but we hope you are all safe and happy and adapting to the weirdness of 2020. Let’s hope it’s all over soon!