Well who would have thought we’d be here right now?
It’s currently March 23rd 2020, and this evening as part of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis management, the UK government have officially told everyone to stay indoors, except for limited essential needs such as 1 form of exercise, medical reasons, food shopping, and travelling to and from essential work.
As of today, all non-essential shops, libraries, playgrounds, places of worship and public spaces will be closed and monitored by the police to ensure no one is gathering in groups of more than 2 for any reasons other than the ones mentioned above. On Friday night, all pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, leisure centres, schools and gyms closed their doors, and over the last week or so, many other businesses had already been forced to closed and lay off staff as they struggle to stay afloat.
Supermarkets have had to issue restrictions on what products you can buy due to mass panic buying leaving most of the shelves empty, and thousands of people without basic essentials like toilet paper, hand soap, pasta and bread.
In other less fortunate places around the world (namely Italy having the worst issues currently), hospitals have gone way beyond capacity due to the deaths and serious conditions people have been left with, thanks to this virus.
^ Two months ago, I never would have imagined that I’d be writing paragraphs like that other than at the start of one of the dystopian thriller novels I’ve always planned to write. Well there’s no need now, because real life is slowly and surely turning into one before our eyes – only with less of the ‘thrill’ and more of the deep concern for ‘what happens next?’.
I’m not trying to write this to be depressing, although I do apologise for adding to the noise of it all; I just wanted to document this for my own records, if anything. Because right now history is happening, and seeing as I’ve managed to capture and make a record of pretty much any mildly interesting that happens to me, I’ll be damned if I miss out on writing about this…
How is it living in Cornwall during coronavirus?
Throughout all of this so far, I have not once forgotten to count my blessings each morning for being lucky enough to live in a quiet, secluded area of the country, with plenty of wide open spaces and lots of distance between people too. Hearing about how things have escalated in other parts of the country (namely London), it’s not lost on me that my experience won’t be nearly as difficult and dramatic as many others. Even as we are all told to stay at home now, I feel blessed to have the countryside outside my doors for my daily outdoor exercise allocation.
We thankfully haven’t become a ‘virus hotspot’ or here in Cornwall yet, but there is an obvious concern about the county’s resources for if we do get any more cases. We have a large elderly population here, and only 1 main hospital (Treliske) that is already under a lot of pressure.
Unfortunately we have a county whose economy relies heavily on tourism and hospitality, with thousands of small businesses here now struggling to make ends meet with these closures. The government have said that grants and loans will be available for businesses to help with paying salaries, but currently we have no idea how much or how long that will take. HMRC are working day and night on creating a portal to deal with this from what I understand, and I do NOT envy the developers who are in charge of that!
One of the worst things over the last couple of days has been seeing people turn against each other and throw hate and judgement around, particularly at hospitality businesses and tourists (usually derogatorily referred to as ’emmets’). I understand the frustration, but right now I think it’s important that we support each other and try to be sympathetic.
These businesses will need support more than every once this is all over, and calling those who don’t live here ‘idiots’ and ‘dickheads’, and telling them to ‘f**k off’, is no way to treat the people we will be in desperate need of in a few months time when we try to rebuild the Cornish economy. It’s also these same people who have simultaneously been going out on beautiful Cornish walks and flaunting them online… which seems a bit cruel to anyone based in a city who doesn’t have that opportunity, whom they’ve just told to ‘p*ss off and stop being selfish’…
None of us know the right way to get through this. We’re all trying to get through with minimal damage, and no choices are simple. Calling people ‘disgusting’ or ‘disgraceful’, is hardly how we’re supposed to be supporting each other in this time.
Hopefully this hate will calm down over the next few days, as choices won’t be left up to ‘moral differences’ or confusion anymore. It will be enforced.
What are Cornish businesses doing?
Anyway, I’m not here to get into debates about what’s right and wrong. I simply want kindness to prevail in this unprecedented situation.
Speaking of, many local businesses here in Cornwall have been doing some amazing things to adjust and stay positive for their local communities. It has also been so heart-warming to see people posting notes through isolated peoples’ doors with their phone number, telling them to give them a call if they need any help with anything. It’s wonderful to see everyone come together with kind actions like these.
If you search in local community Facebook groups, you’ll find huge lists of independent businesses listing their services for discounted prices (or even for free!) to help people, and restaurants around the county are now offering free delivery services since being asked to shut their doors as a ‘social space’.
There are hundreds, so I couldn’t have time to list them all here, but below are a few that I wanted to share, and don’t forget to check your community groups, and business social media pages to see what people are offering near you – there’s so much out there right now! Especially local fishmongers and farmers, many of whom are now offering door to door delivery too:
- Nick’s Community Kitchen (Exec chef from the Greenbank Hotel is does a series of videos on Facebook showing families how to cook simple recipes using local ingredients)
- Free 30 minute Skype sessions with Well Being Hive Cornwall (for anyone struggling with anxiety and mental health around this pandemic)
- Ann’s Pasties delivered to your door! (These frozen pasties can be kept for weeks in the freezer, and you can order online too.)
- Restaurant Mine in Falmouth has started a takeaway menu (plus all NHS workers eat for free!)
- Melanie Chadwick is hosting Online Drawing Parties (get creative via Zoom video conferencing).
- Baker Toms bread have a mobile bread van (stopping in different villages around Cornwall to deliver fresh bread).
Please do leave a comment below if you are or if you know any local businesses who are doing something new and positive to help the situation and adjust to our new temporary way of life!