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The Spanish is nothing if not picaresque. It’s there in the underpinnings of his national icons. However,
the latest survey by the Sociological Research Center shows that not only do most Spaniards
believe the measures adopted by the government to contain the pandemic were necessary;
now that the lockdown has been lifted, they want the authorities to impose stricter
controls, including a re-imposition of confinement, where needed. A near-perfect
unanimity of deeds and sentiments, and quite a departure from what
one would normally expect from the highly individualistic picaros.
by Rose Maramba
The Spanish is nothing if not picaresque. It’s there in the underpinnings of his national icons: the fiesta (not least, the bullfight); his sun, surf and sangria ; even the siesta. (Who in his right mind would swear it’s good business to close down from midday to mid-afternoon and let his customers cool their heels while he sleeps off his three-course lunch?)
The picaresque Spanish gets quite a kick from breaking the rules.
It is therefore amazing that when the government decreed a sweeping lockdown (estado de alarma) for the country, which lasted from 14 March to 21 June, people in all age groups stayed shut in at home. As was predictable, some flouted the decree but they were so few they failed to cause a stir in the grand scheme of things.
Spain’s lockdown , the toughest in the democratic world, is now a thing of the past. But for the majority of the dyed in the wool picaros, it will always be remembered as a proud moment. A unique episode when, quite out of character, they toed the line without so much as a faint grumble.
But would they accept a repeat so soon – if ever?
As more and more scenes of irresponsible Spaniards who apparently take pleasure in thumbing their noses on social distancing and the wearing of masks are shown in the media and the social networks, the general population is outraged. It has reached the point where they now advocate rolling back the lockdown de-escalation and adopting more stringent rules in view of Covid-19 resurgence (2,289 cases as of 21 July).
According to the poll that the Ministry of Health conducted during the week of 15 – 22 June, there is a marked increase in mask-wearing relative to May. To wit: in May, following the earliest phase of the de-escalation when the children were first allowed to go out in the street for an hour, 19% of the people across Spain never wore masks. By June, that percentage went down drastically to 8%.
Obviously, the numbers haven’t been evenly distributed among the 17 autonomous communities of Spain. Below are the results of the June poll.
Andalusia. In the Andalusian provinces of Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga, and Seville, 4.3 %, 4.5%, 6.5%, 6.2%, 9.2%, 3.9%, 5.5% and 8.3% of the population respectively don’t wear masks.
Aragon. In the provinces of Huesca, Teruel, and Zaragoza, 8.8%, 7.4%, and 8.5% of the population respectively don’t wear masks.
Asturias. 13.4% of the population of this one-province autonomous community don’t wear masks.
The Balearics. The percentage of non-mask wearers in this archipelago of 4 major islands (Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) is 22.4.
Basque Country. Out of the entire populations of the provinces of Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Vizcaya, 20%, 45.5% and 23.5% respectively don’t wear masks.
Canary Islands. In the western part of the archipelago, 9.5% of the population don’t wear masks; 14.2% in the eastern part.
Cantabria. This is another one-province autonomous community. 13% of the Cantabrians are non-mask wearing.
Castilla-LaMancha. In Albacete, Cuenca, Guadalajara, and Toledo, 4.9%, 7.1%, 9.4%, and 10.1% of their respective populations don’t wear masks.
Castilla y Leon. In Avila, Burgos, Leon, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Valladolid, and Zamora, 5.5%, 9.9%, 8.2%, 11.1%, 5.3%, 6.7%, 8.7%, and 16% of their respective populations are non-mask wearers.
Catalonia. In Barcelona, 4.9% of the population don’t wear masks; Girona 6.8%; Lerida 7.5%; and Tarragona 9.5%
Comunidad Valenciana. In the province of Alicante, 9.2% of the population don’t wear masks; in Castellón 7.1%; and in Valencia 5.1%.
Extremadura. 10.4% and 5.9% of the populations of Badajoz and Cáceres respectively don’t wear masks.
Galicia. Respectively, in La Coruña, Lugo, Orense, and Pontevedra 15.1%, 18.9%, 5.1%, and 15.5% don’t wear masks.
MADRID. The percentage of non-mask wearers of the entire population of the Community of Madrid, which consists of the capital city and the province, is 4.7.
Murcia. 7.7% of the population of the one-province Autonomous Community of Murcia don’t wear masks.
Navarre. A one-province autonomous community, 16.3% of the Navarrese don’t wear masks.
The five Spanish provinces where face masks are most worn are Jaen (96.1% of the population); Almeria (95.7%); Cadiz (95.5%); Madrid (95.3%), and Albacete (95.1%). With 95.1% of the population wearing masks, Barcelona ties the score with Albacete.
Moreover, the latest survey by the Sociological Research Center (Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas or CIS), carried out between 1 and 9 July and published on the 15th of the month, shows that not only do most of the Spanish populace believe the measures adopted by the government to contain the pandemic were necessary; now that the lockdown has been lifted, they want the authorities to impose stricter controls, including a re-imposition of confinement, where needed.
A stunning 97% of the CIS respondents admit feeling very worried, or sufficiently worried, about the effects of the pandemic crisis.
At the time of this writing, ALL the autonomous communities of Spain, with the exception of Madrid and the Canary Islands, have made wearing masks in public places compulsory, even in those places where social distancing is practicable.
A near-perfect unanimity of deeds and sentiments, and quite a departure from what one would normally expect from the highly individualistic picaros.
Featured image (Francisco Goya’s Clothed Maja with face mask)/ Tumisu, Pixabay
Raging bull/Cliker, Pixabay
Disco/Jose Luis Zapata Ruiz, CC BY 2.0
Face mask/Ivan Radic, CC BY2.0
Streeet art, Jaen/Bafomet-Jaén, CC BY2.0
Madrid sunset/Javier Alamo, Pixabay
Spanish flag thumbs-up/Kurious, Pixabay
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