Human tourists might be unable to travel but the migratory birds have no such problems. The barn swallows are nesting in quiet corners of Pedi and every evening we hear the owls calling across the valley.
As 1 May is a big holiday in Greece and falls on a Friday this year, once again a strict vehicle curfew will be in place for that weekend to prevent people leaving the cities to head for country houses and islands. Effectively the lock down definitely remains in place until at least 4 May for this reason. We are, however, expecting an announcement, either this evening or tomorrow, outlining the proposed stages for re-opening the country. Starting with easily controllable businesses such as bookshops and hair dressers and, eventually, seasonal hotels.
We have already been told that the most we can hope for is a 3 month tourist season, from 1 July to 30 September, with various restrictions in place concerning which country nationals will be allowed in and what measures will be taken to ensure the safety of both the tourists and the locals. This is all being hammered out with the EU as a whole to make a co-ordinated plan. Proposals including opening up the larger hotels first but reducing the number of rooms occupied as it is easier to impose social distancing in larger premises, replacing buffets with table service, changing bars so that drinkers sit at spaced tables with table service and so on.
It will be interesting to see how the airlines tackle the issues of social distancing, disinfection and hygiene and still keep their planes in the air. We saw huge changes in the travel industry after September 11 but this is going to be even more momentous. Even if people like Mike O’Leary of Ryan Air complain about the costs involved and refuse to fly within the limitations unless the state picks up the shortfall, the reality is that airlines are going to have a hard time persuading people to travel on their planes unless they feel safe. With awareness of the importance of hygiene at an all time high, the average person is more likely to be conscious of just what might be lurking on armrests, tray tables, back rests, upholstery and the like, not to mention plastic bins at security checks, airport seating and so on. It is not just the recycled air which people have been complaining about for years. Now the threat is not just catching a cold or flu. Unlike trains, buses and other forms of public transport which are a daily necessity for many people to get to and from work, it is rare for flying to be essential so consumers have the luxury of the last word.
We shall see what tomorrow brings.