A Day in the Life During COVID-19: 5 People, 5 Places
Most of us have never experienced a catastrophe like this before. This pandemic has affected everyone across the globe. While we are expected to quarantine and physically distance ourselves where possible, this does not mean you have to socially distance from others.
We reached out to some international friends to share their experience with COVID-19 in their country of origin. We all hope to return to a new “normal” soon. Remember, you are not alone in this fight to flatten the curve.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Blake, Cayman Islands
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
“In late February, maybe February 27, the first case of COVID was detected in Bahrain… It’s a really tiny island located in the Gulf. It’s 45 minutes away from my city which is on the eastern coast. It's a very liberal country with liquor, bars, clubs. This is where everything went downhill. Everybody freaked out. By late February, we were all cautious of what was going on. Companies, regardless of whether it was private or public sector, were asked to declare if they had been to the countries affected by COVID. A lot of tension arose at this time.
(The lockdown) began gradually. It started with banned barber shops, gyms and swimming pools because they were high risk areas, which I agree with for the most part. That was followed with a bunch of regulations, such as a curfew from 6 AM-6 PM. If you broke that curfew, you were hit with a $3,000.00 fine. Everybody took that seriously. After awhile, it changed to 7 AM-3 PM. Anytime after that, no one was allowed (out). Lunch hours were cancelled, restaurants and cafes stopped operating… Only priority jobs and business remained. A lot of the governmental companies took the action of working from home, including my own employer.
Mid March everything was literally on lockdown. We were on a 24-hour lockdown. Nothing operated except for groceries stores, which were only open for like 3 or 4 hours a day, 9 people at a time. They would have to check your temperature. We stayed like this for the rest of March, and the rest of April... Due to Ramadan they loosened up some of the restaurants to cook and deliver. They are going to proceed until Eid (Festival of Breaking the Fast), and then we will have the 24 hour lockdown, again.
I’ve heard everything will be back to normal 5 days after our holiday. Maybe by the beginning of June, people will go back to work, or maybe internal flights will start going up. Other than that, I’m not sure. This is not a favorable situation. I believe they will remain strict in regards to wearing masks, as they have been. You need masks to enter any place, you will work with a mask. I sanitize 25 times a day! Hopefully things will go upwards from now.”
“The quarantine period involves a lockdown that leads our life to a great change. I was confined at home but luckily, I have a garden to take care of and enough space to workout. During that period, I cooked a lot of sweets and pizza. I read different kinds of books; to learn new things but also (to) entertain myself (with topics such as), Fantasy, (specifically) Lord of the Rings. I prepared myself for the thesis exposition for my degree. I had even more insolation than other people because for a month I was without a phone. I broke it and the stores were closed and the delivery sites were blocked. So (during this) time, even if hard, was good for (me to) take care of myself more. Even if I (did) lose my job, something better will come!”
“Quarantine in The Bahamas started off hard and restrictive - while the country waited with bated breath for its first confirmed case of COVID 19, the Prime Minister (leader of our country), wasted no time in mandating the closure of nearly all businesses in late March. At the time, only food stores, gas stations and pharmacies were allowed to be open at limited hours, and I was out of a 9 - 5 day job. A system was eventually put in place where there would be a 9pm - 5am curfew on weekdays, and a 24 hour curfew on weekends. Masks are mandatory, even if that order came a few weeks later. I can't say the adjustment was comfortable for most of the population, but even though there was a vocal minority of citizens against the drastic measures early on, I think we've become more compliant over the past few weeks. For me, I rarely leave the house unless it's for a drive, to get some take out food (I've been cooking at home a lot more) or to get something essential...With the lack of outside revenue coming into one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, it does feel strange to see certain hot spots completely devoid of people. My only worry is that the longer we stay cooped up, the more prone Bahamians will be to directing their anxieties to our government, which really needs all the help it can get. It hasn't been perfect, but I'm grateful the leader of our country happens to be a Doctor at a time like this.”
"This pandemic has affected Jamaica in more ways than one. Personally, I have been affected a great deal. I moved back to Jamaica around the end of February, right before a close friend's wedding. This was just before the Pandemic really escalated. Pre-wedding was a good time. I was seeing all my friends, making plans for the future, applying to jobs and getting ready to settle down. However, things were about to change with the first case on the island. Things started to spiral. The airports, businesses and schools started to close. Then came the start at home orders, soon followed by island wide curfews. Everything seemed to happen so fast and at the same time, everything for me came to a halt.
A little thing I like to say is, 'Life is like a bow and arrow. When life pulls you back, it's right before it's about to shoot you so fast forward.' I had to maintain a positive mindset in these tough times. I had to look on the bright side of life. I hadn't lived at home in almost 5 years, so I have been able to spend a lot of time with my parents. I have also tried to develop a more sustainable exercise routine. It has become my most stable activity at the moment, and something I look forward to everyday. As a chef, some would say this is the ideal time to cook and perfect my craft but for me, it has been a little difficult. Inspiration can be hard to come by. I have only recently been able to focus on developing ramen dishes, and it's giving me life. Yes, I have been challenged and tested the last few weeks but we have had fewer and fewer cases each day, with greater recoveries. By the looks of it, Jamaica is starting to come out on the other side of this pandemic. You will, too."
Blake, Cayman Islands
“Our government responded pretty quickly to the whole pandemic situation. Within two weeks of the pandemic becoming a global issue, my office decided we would be divided in half and work alternative weeks. We split into Team A and Team B. We were not allowed to interact with anyone outside of the office at all, especially if you were on different teams. On Saturday, they would get cleaners and clean the entire office before the other team came in. By the time Team B was able to come into office, we were instructed to close down everything. Two weeks after our first case. Only essential workers were allowed to go into work. We also had a curfew from 7 AM to 5 PM, or something like that. Everyone was just working from home. I had two weeks off because I didn’t have access to the online system we use (at work). Two weeks off and I was working out a lot, eating and cooking. To exercise, I used that time being a pretend P.E. teacher for my little brother, which helped me keep active because I knew he had to keep active. I also wanted to give my mom a break. Fast forward, I started working from home. Sometimes I would work out in my room or use the patio as my office. It’s nice to be able to use this space to have my own area. Netflix! I’ve watched everything on Netflix.”
Did any of these accounts surprise you?
Did you relate to anything mentioned?
Many of us have lost our jobs, especially within the hospitality industry. Many of us have doubled or even tripled our responsibilities to serve as substitutes teachers for our little ones. Many of us are working on the front lines to combat the virus, and worry about infecting loved ones at home. Many of us are quarantining alone. Many of us suffer, or know someone, with autoimmune or preexisting, posing a greater threat of infection. Many of us are anxious about the future.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We are right here with you.
Thank you for all your continued support. Stay safe. From all of us at GO, we hope to see you soon!