South Africa has survived one weekend under Lockdown Level 4, and already everyone’s finding things to get upset about.
It doesn’t feel like very much has changed under these new rules, except for the fact that food deliveries are allowed now, and my group chat is being flooded with menus and discussions about what all my friends feel like ordering on a daily basis (sushi has been a firm favourite). If we weren’t already gaining weight in lockdown, we’re surely all going to come out of it with a little extra blubber to keep us warm during the coming winter months now that we can order pizza.
We’re also allowed to buy clothes (which we might need after all that pizza), and one reliable shopaholic friend has confirmed that all the clothing stores in the mall are open– although the question of who would want out hang around in a mall in the middle of a pandemic baffles me.
All the women I’ve spoken to are pretty pleased that we can now buy make-up again, so we can look human for all the zoom calls for which we still won’t change out of our pyjamas.
For me, the most exciting part about this quarantine upgrade is the fact that we’re allowed outside for exercise. We can finally get some fresh air, and walk a distance that’s a little further than the one between the computer and the fridge. It’s great to be reminded that outside is still a place that exists but these adventures, and the people embarking on them, have already received some criticism online.
Capetonians in particular received flack on May 1st, after it seemed like everybody in the city (and their dogs) congregated on the Seapoint Promenade at 08:00 for their daily dose of exercise.
Despite the fact that every person in the photos was wearing a mask, Twitter was rife with Pandemic Shaming (not a good look for anyone) and finger pointing. There was little consideration for the fact that the government itself had bottlenecked everyone’s workout time by stating that people can only walk outside between the hours of six and nine in the morning– and the sun only rises in Cape Town after seven.
If you haven’t already read our article on Pandemic Shaming, check it out now, because it’s only going to become more prevalent as lockdown measures become more relaxed. As we’re allowed to do more, there will be more judgement for actually doing it – Most of the joggers, walkers and cyclists on the Seapoint Promenade were following the rules. It’s not their fault the rules were poorly thought out.
While technically a Capetonian myself, I live nowhere near Seapoint. My early morning run, therefore, was relatively peaceful. Yes, there were more people out there than I’ve ever seen in my quiet little suburb (where did they all come from??) but as far as I could tell everyone maintained safe distances from one another, most were wearing masks. Apart from one lady– who was jogging around casting judgement on people as if she owned the place– everyone was polite and friendly to the people they passed (at the recommended distance of two metres).
The dogs all looked very pleased to be out for walks for the first time in five weeks, and the general atmosphere was a positive one. It seems like many of us are beginning to understand, at least some of the time, that we’re all doing our best to deal with the situation. Unfortunately, there will always be those who use this opportunity to validate themselves by casting judgement on others, and I suppose we’ll just need to forgive them for that.
It’s a little exhausting not knowing when we’ll be upgraded to level 3, and the levels after that, and the prospect that these new luxuries (fresh air!) will be taken away from us again is pretty daunting. We’ve had a taste of freedom now (in the forms of jogging and sushi) but those are not guaranteed going forward, and we’re going to need to tread pretty lightly to avoid being thrown back into Level 5.
It’s probably better to stay home and continue with your Youtube workout routine (we have a post about that too) than to start spending all of your mornings outdoors, and hanging around in the mall on a Sunday is definitely not advised. In these trying and unpredictable times it’s really best to stick to simple guidelines about how to behave.
I’d recommend as a rule of thumb, whether you’re shopping for those winter clothes we’re allowed to buy now, walking your dog on the promenade, or at home sending out Tweets, just try not to be an asshole.