It’s the Covid-19 season and we have been in self-isolation feeling more unwell than we have ever been in our lives. It’s not easy to tell when or where you pick up this disease but, for us, it could well have been an hotel in Carlisle. As I post this, it is day 22 and there are finally the signs of a let-up: so much for the “it’s all over in 14 days” lark.
The implications for society at large are only just beginning to be grasped. The UK lock-down currently takes us to the end of July, when the schools were due to break up; but now there won’t be a summer term anyway and the end of July could well be when the UK’s epidemic is at its peak. Releasing children on to the older and vulnerable just then could trigger a nasty wave of serious illness.
All of which has huge implications for the Harbour. Salcombe and Kingsbridge will be strange holiday destinations with the hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, pubs and cafés closed, and the chances are that people will not be allowed to travel south in any case. Keeping these facilities open anyway would be pretty hazardous – the Devonian free spirit of not letting anything stop you may already have created something of a Covid-19 hotspot in South Devon that could become a real threat for the many older people who live here all the time.
Holidays clearly are going to be a problem. A friend of ours took her campervan across the Channel recently only to be immediately turned round onto the next UK-bound ferry by French Police touting AK47s. So the favourite holiday destinations for the British – Spain, Italy, Greece and France are closed off and I doubt if anybody in their right mind will set foot on a cruise liner. Its going to be a very odd summer.
Unfortunately, this is going to cost the Harbour a lot in lost revenue. Costs are still there – the moorings have been maintained over the winter but whether there will be the revenue to pay for them must be in doubt. They will still need maintenance next year regardless of whether they have had a boat on them over the season; and people are already complaining that they have paid Harbour dues but are not allowed on the water (the Harbour Office has many powers but over-riding 10 Downing Street is not amongst them). If there is an upside, Batson car park shouldn’t be so busy so the work on building the new Harbour workshop might be able to go ahead slightly more easily (providing there are not too many boats unable to be launched), which will be some compensation for the fiasco over the Harbour Office. Where will all this end? I have no idea but, if we are spared, I’ll provide an update next month. In the meantime, keep safe.