Sunday 14th March 2021 | translated by MIKE SMITH
A year ago, COVID-19 barged into our lives. At the time, most of us couldn’t imagine that 15 days would end up being more than a year. That our vocabulary would incorporate wartime words. That our routines would give way to uncertainty, that not hugging someone would mean protecting them. That lifting the shutter of our business would go from being an obligation to the most anticipated desire.
I remember the first days of March 2020 almost fondly when thinking how we ignored the magnitude of what was coming our way. We did not suspect that such a small and invisible threat was going to change our lives so much, reposition our priorities and demonstrate the fragility of our system. Or that stopping it was going to become the greatest challenge we have had as a globalized society and that it would need unprecedented management and response from administrations.
The first phase was a tremendous shock. Municipalities, like any other person or company, struggled to adapt to a new reality marked by the pandemic with the addition that administrative processes are not exactly flexible.
In Xàbia, we had to reorganize the entire administrative system and try to accompany and give security to residents: increasing the cleaning of public spaces, providing the necessary resources to social services to respond to this emergency, informing and controlling compliance of the many and changing norms that the State of Alarm has brought with it, supporting educational centres, giving self-protection advice and looking for the means so that, in those weeks of scarcity, our essential workers were protected.
They were almost unreal weeks, without schedules, without previous experience to hold on to, and in which, in the midst of darkness and fear, I was able to confirm that I am lucky to be part of a great team and that there are people in our town and tremendously empathetic and supportive groups that are always ready to collaborate.
As politicians, in Xàbia we knew that it was time to be united and that no discussion or partisan interest could be above the health, social and economic response that our residents needed. As a result, we have the Recuperem Xàbia plans, in which we have mobilized all our economic resources for direct aid, social employment plans, emergency aid, the abolition of fees and support for the reactivation of tourism and commerce.
Since the de-escalation began and its different phases, we have physically lived with masks and capacity controls, but also an emotional merry-go-round with two opposite moments: a summer in which we touch normality and that today almost seems like a illusion and a very difficult Christmas and the beginning of the year with the worst moments of the spread of the virus.
We can never thank enough those who have been on the front line of this particular war, such as the health workers, security and emergency services, caretakers, teachers, cleaning personnel and other essential groups.
As mayor, I would like to mention the role of our Local Police force, which has had to assume many new responsibilities during this health crisis and ensure compliance with regulations that are not always understood.
It is March 2021. We have already completed 12 months full of fear, sacrifice and resignation for many people.
I want to particularly remember all those families in Xàbia who have lost loved ones. Let us not forget that this is the true irreparable drama of this pandemic. May the memory of the good times lived with them serve as your strength to face the future with optimism.
A separate mention for all those (companies, self-employed, workers) who have been financially burdened by the consequences of the necessary restrictions or those who, such as fiesta commissions, have understood that better times will come to celebrate.
A year that, inevitably, has changed us all. Now it is a matter of attitude and motivation to make us better.
We are tired. But, we know much more about our enemy than we did a year ago, and everything suggests that there is just one last effort left to be able to meet up again. Vaccination has begun and with it the path to the return to normality and to regain healthy socialization away from the computer screens. To leave behind counting chairs and be aware of clocks and borders. To return to the blessed routines, to celebrate and hug each other, to share the world. In short, everything that makes life worth living.
It is time to, with prudence and everything that experience has taught us, finally to close the year of the coronavirus and open the door to a new time with enthusiasm, hope and optimism.
Together we will achieve it!
Mayor of Xàbia
Press Release – Ajuntament de Xàbia