As I see it - a view of Donegal by Siobhán McNamara

Friday, March 20, 2020

Two kayakers on Donegal Bay show that social distancing doesn't mean life grinds to a halt

Two kayakers on Donegal Bay show that social distancing doesn't mean life grinds to a halt

How quickly things change.

It's hard to fathom that as recently as last Thursday our children went to school in the morning. Most pubs, shops and restaurants started off the weekend with business more or less as usual. But within a short few days, life in Donegal was very different.

Over the course of the last week, we have all become accustomed to a new normal. We look for the hand sanitiser on entering shops and other buildings, use the disposable gloves provided at the petrol pump and are loath to touch anything in a public place unless it's absolutely necessary.

Perhaps the biggest change to which we have so quickly had to adapt is social distancing. I suspect that long after Covid-19 has been and gone, the term will live on.

In the spirit of our 'new normal' we are already accustomed to looking for the two-metre social distancing markers at tills in shops, in banks, etc. Even when we meet friends and acquaintances on the street, we keep our distance. Yes, there are a few people for whom the importance of social distancing hasn't quite sunk in. But most of us have got the message loud and clear.

Speaking in the Seanad where emergency legislation was passed today, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said of the importance of social distancing: "It is not a theory, it’s a protection, and we need to confront our families and our peers and our communities to make sure that everybody takes that seriously. And if we do we will save lives, thousands of them."

On a brighter note, we are truly blessed in Donegal to have so many fantastic beaches, woodland walks and other natural amenities where we can get out in the fresh air. There is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the physical and emotional benefit of gentle (or not so gentle, if you like a challenge!) activity in such a beautiful setting.

Even in these uncertain times, it really lifts the soul.

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