WEDNESDAY 17 JUNE 2020
Write a piece describing the devastating effect of the Coronavirus Covid19 on a single family.
by John Yeo
Jose was a successful hotelier, his wife Maria was his backbone and his inspiration. They had built up La Casa del Puenta. The hotel was excellent and attracted many tourists from around the world. They had a reputation of being the first hotel in Spain to have been awarded a certificate of excellence by Jules Fargo, a well known travel experience organisation that could make or break the future of a hotel.
It was during the high season that the rumours of something nasty began swirling around the media waves. It was Maria who became worried first, her sister had suddenly become seriously ill and was in a large hospital in the city.
‘Jose,’ she said, out of the blue one day, ‘I have to take the day off tomorrow to go and visit Consuella in hospital.’
Without hesitation, Jose said. ‘Of course darling, I will manage. You have built up some wonderfully adaptable staff to cover for you.’
‘Thanks Jose, I will give her your love and take a few things to ease her stay while she’s in hospital. I don’t know quite what’s wrong with her exactly but I’m sure she will get over it.’
Little did either of them realise what life-changing events were about to happen that would have untold repercussions on their comfortable everyday life.
Later that day the news broke of the serious infectious disease that was sweeping through Spain. The news bulletins on the media were frantically warning people not to travel. To stay put, and keep themselves isolated from everyone else. The hotel emptied over the course of that single day, as guests checked out. The hotel reception desk telephones were constantly busy with people ringing to cancel their bookings.
Some members of the hotel staff immediately packed up and left, to be with their homes and families, contrary to the official advice. Suddenly everyone who Jose and Maria came into contact with was wearing a medical mask. Maria had instantly dropped her plan to visit her sister in the city, as the significance of what was happening became clearer.
The food deliveries suddenly dried up except for a few local farmers who dropped off their produce directly to the hotel.
Information began to become clear, the country was in the grip of a worldwide pandemic. A deadly disease was sweeping the world and had reached Spain. The advice was to stay put and not go outside.
Over the next few days the hotel became like a large hollow shell, the swimming pools were deserted with the bars and the restaurant permanently empty. None of the loyal hotel staff remained as they had slowly fled home to their families, contrary to the government advice. Jose and Maria kept to their suite. The freezers in the kitchens were full of frozen food, and the wine cellar was reasonably stocked. However they had to spend a long time just destroying the fresh food and filling the bins.
Horror-stricken, they had kept up with the news of the deadly outbreak and as the body counts grew on a daily basis they became increasingly frightened.
One positive thing that was happening was the continued visits of Farmer Lorenzo, bringing fresh milk, eggs and bread and most importantly local news.
Apparently many local people were sick and there was much sadness and the streets were deserted wherever you went.
Lorenzo said, ‘I dare not walk on the streets of town as some young men are breaking into local shops to steal food.’
Maria replied, ‘Oh no! Where are the police?’
‘The police are forced to keep the peace, but there is a lot of sympathy for the hungry people. Food stocks are running short, due to stockpiling by the wealthy.’ replied Lorenzo.
Two weeks later when Lorenzo arrived with his fresh produce he found the hotel deserted. The local postman shouted from his van parked across the road. They are both in the general hospital, seriously ill with this evil virus. Lorenzo couldn’t control the tears that formed in his dark brown eyes.
© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.