21 March 2020

Covid-19 in North Wales

Footage of Venice and Rome looks eerie. Even footage of London! But how are things in North Wales?

The difference is not massive I must say! Mind you, Bethesda has never been a tourist hub. Neither has Menai Bridge. And even if they would have; tourist season hasn't really started yet. So if you walk on the streets you don't notice anything too unusual. But of course, there are differences.

The university, or at least, the bits of it I have recently frequented, is unrecognisable. It's as good as deserted! The door is now locked 24/7 and only with a key card can you get in. And there are bottles with cleaning agent everywhere. I never thought I'd be the sort of person to go and disinfect doorknobs but I turned into one! One has to do one's bit.

The MSc suite; no students, but there is disinfectant...

The shops are not the same either. Yes, we too have empty shelves! No toilet paper anywhere. When it comes to fruit and veg I noticed a fair difference; in the Menai Bridge Waitrose, the veg aisle looked a lot emptier than normal. The Bethesda Londis was stocked as ever!

When it comes to the hospitality sector, it looks like Bethesda has a relaxed approach. The last time I checked the two Indian restaurant and the one Chinese restaurant were still open, but two of these only do take-away so I suppose that's less risky. And only one of the pubs on this side of the high street was closed. Neuadd Ogwen was closed, as expected! A pity but the reasonable thing.

The loo roll shelves in the Menai Bridge Waitrose

There are also lovely initiatives! We have a village Facebook group and people are offering support. And people are asking for specific kinds of help. And a gardener up the road was offering seedlings of edible plants for free to whoever wanted to come pick them up! That was sweet.

It looks like this could be a long haul! I am sure that would be hard. The university can manage a lot online, but of course ventures like bakers, pubs, hairdressers and outdoor centres can't. So I am now still working, just in a different way (separate blogpost to follow), but many won't be so lucky. Bethesda isn't a rich village as it is! And so far it looks like most economic activity takes place as normal. But for how long? The government has now told pubs to close. Not sure if that will be enforced. But it looks like open pubs will soon be a memory. Bethesda might not like it! But it wouldn’t like the virus spreading either. We'll see how this pans out...

Very quiet on the street! But that’s normal...

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