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COVID19: Social distancing is here to stay

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In an ideal world, a place where boring predictability lives without fear, I would like nothing better than avoiding talking about coronavirus but it’s not going to disappear in a puff of magic smoke.

The government has suggested that with the number of daily infections coming down it allows for some optimism that a spattering of non-essential businesses will be allowed to open.

Certainly, these will be small businesses that mainly deal with the outside or construction and not indoor places where large numbers of people congregate.

The hard-hit economy is not going to suddenly back-flip into action where it will be business as usual without having to take social distancing precautions.

Cyprus’ tourism sector is going to be confined to a sunbed in the back garden because I can’t see too many people booking a foreign holiday this summer.

Especially when the UK foreign office (the island’s largest tourist market) advice “continues to be that you should go abroad for essential travel only”.

Seeing as this virus is everywhere and not likely to go away before a vaccine or effective treatment can be found, social distancing is going to be part of our everyday normal lives.

Cyprus has some of the toughest restrictions in Europe to contain the virus but for how much longer can Cypriots happily self-isolate at home without it having a strain on their mental health.

If there was a Recluse World Championships for non-Himalayan monks, I would fancy my chances of a spot on the podium but staying in a full house and working from home is wearing thin.

I’m not saying a month in self-isolation even compares with being held to ransom by a rebel group in the South American jungle, although there is a negative effect on one’s sanity.

Confined to one trip outside the home is akin to a prison sentence as humans are not built to be deprived of physical contact (all types).

Working from home means not being able to escape Monday mornings while the weekend seems to have fallen off the edge of a cliff.

International rescue teams are searching for that weekend feeling where watching football was a good excuse not to do the chores.

After a hard week’s graft, there was a license to let your hair down to spend some me-time or acknowledging your children had names and could be spoken to in a non-regimental fashion.

Most of the time we fall into the trap of telling our kids what they should or shouldn’t be doing, a virtual dialogue with the deaf.

Suddenly, without a work/weekend routine the life of quarantine evolves around laptops, food and Netflix – the guilty among you will be downloading exercise and yoga classes from YouTube.

With our normal schedules transformed into an upside-down cake (binge eating is another side-effect), there is now uncertainty and angst on where to draw the line between work and leisure.

Without work schedules, appointments, school trips, gym workouts, brunch meetings, regular time and downtime has fused to create an imbalance in our social lives.

We are living in a weightless environment where social life has no gravity, we are in survival mode but pretending it is something else.

Time has new meaning when the clock ticks to a different domestic rhythm where sleep and work patterns are disrupted by coronavirus fear and anxiety.

Are you a stay at home in pyjamas all day kind of person, or someone who is always on the go finding imaginary jobs to do around the house to take your mind off the killer virus?

Social distancing measures may be eased but they will not be completely lifted which means we will still be living in a big brother state with people monitoring your every move.

We will have to keep our distance, stay away from crowded places become loners and not invite people into our homes.

Pretend you’re the lead character in a post-apocalyptic video game where you need to stay alive and alone long enough for a cure to be found.

In the meantime, there are neighbours knocking on your door infected with the virus who would like to spend the weekend with you…

Keep the faith. Stay home this Easter