Greece is on nationwide lockdown due to a surge in Covid cases in the fall. What does this mean? For three weeks until December 1, we can leave home only for essential reasons which include: going to a nearby supermarket; visiting the doctor or pharmacy; going to banks or public utility offices; helping someone in need; traveling to work if working from home is not possible; attending a funeral; traveling to see children when parents are separated; leaving home for physical exercise or to care for pets or strays. Masks must be worn at all times outside the house; SMS must be sent to a national number listing the reason for leaving home or a paper must be carried with the same information; a special document is required for work listing hours; the fine for violation is 300 euros and police are enforcing this, particularly in the cities. Restaurants and bars are closed; only a few categories of shops are open. A curfew from 12 am to 5 am was extended to begin at 9 pm; this is because young people have been congregating outside in groups. Travel in Greece is restricted; visits to second homes are not allowed. Primary schools are open, but secondary schools are using internet. Similar restrictions were in place in March and April in Greece and the country had one of the lowest virus rates in the world until recently. The hope is that the lockdown will stem the spread of the virus and that the restrictions will be lifted before the holidays.
This situation contrasts with the United States where the President has refused to acknowledge the extent of the health crisis or to take measures to restrict the spread of the Covid virus.
How does it feel to be on lockdown? It is lonely. As I live on my own, I particularly miss being able to meet friends in restaurants, and even getting together in our homes is not possible. For me visits from the cleaning lady who is also helping me to finish unpacking after my move and from workmen who are completing the final renovations on my apartment provide welcome human contact. Thank goodness for Skype and Messenger. I spend many hours each day talking to friends, and it makes a difference to be able to see their faces.
A friend in America and I connect each day to do the Yoga Moon Salutation together. We recite the words created to accompany it by Laura Cornell which begin: “I stand tall heart open to the world, body full and present in all of its beauty.” It is amazing how wonderful that makes us each feel.
Last week my landline stopped working. I thought it was the batteries in my cordless phone. The local supermarket did not have rechargeable batteries and my builder could not find them at the hardware store open to him because it is necessary for his work. I feared I would be without a landline for the duration of the lockdown, but luckily a friend found batteries for me at his supermarket, and writing that he was visiting someone in need, delivered them. Unfortunately, the phone still did not work.
I continued to have internet access for several days and then it too went out. On a trip to the minimarket across the street, I discovered that phone and internet had been out in my neighborhood all week, probably due to the torrential rains. I was assured that it would all be fixed by midday. It was not. I could not even report this to the phone company as all of their lines were busy. Finally, the friend who brought me the batteries used his internet to make a written report about the lack of service. I received a message on my cell phone that they were still trying to fix the problems in my neighborhood. Since I depend on internet to pass my time and for human contact, I was distraught. But my friend told me that I could set up a mobile hot spot on my cell phone and connect it to the computer. Luckily for me, I was able to take advantage of a special offer for unlimited data/internet on my phone for 30 days; otherwise the cost would have been prohibitive.
Despite all of these difficulties, I am glad that I live in a country that is imposing measures to halt the spread of the virus. And I am relieved that the United States will soon have a President who takes the Covid crisis seriously.
Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator who lives in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s recent book is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.
Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions.
Categories: Feminism and Religion