October 20, 2020

“It is contradictory that they ask us not to leave the bridge after opposing to close”


The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid has annulled the closure of Madrid and nine other municipalities of the Community on the eve of one of the bridges, that of the Pilar, which generates the most movements in the city. Madrilenians take on this new twist of the “tired” script. Exit or not has been for many behind other urgencies and concerns. In the last three weeks, the restrictions have changed three times: first they were limited only to specific neighborhoods, then the entire city was added by order of the Ministry of Health and now, just five days later, there is nothing. Madrid festers, waiting for the measures that are finally in force to be finalized this Friday, especially fatigue. A fatigue that spreads in the homes, jobs and environments of more than five million inhabitants who do not know what to expect in the coming days. The uncertainty also affects nine other municipalities in the Community whose closure has also been overturned.

Pilar Rodríguez, a forty-year-old telecommunications engineer, canceled her plans to leave the bridge with her family last week. He does not plan to retake them. “We are not going to leave because it does not seem like common sense to me, but it is a contradiction that after the Madrid government has opposed closing the city they ask us not to leave the bridge,” he says. “There are many in all this that is happening, everywhere,” he adds one line.

Both the regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, have called for responsibility not to leave en masse outside the city, despite the fact that the initial measures decreed by the Ministry of Health would allow it . Pedro, in his sixties, will not go to his house in town either. Even if he could, he will choose to stay. “Today is one thing and tomorrow will be another. We are fed up,” he says angrily.

The court ruling has thrown Madrid back into confusion and uncertainty. Both reign in the street, where citizens get lost between advertisements and counter-announcements, and also in offices. The Ministry of Health has called an urgent meeting with the regional government to seek alternatives after the judicial decision. A meeting that does not come, for now, because the Community of Madrid has not accepted it. The argument is that he wants, after asking for a dialogue a few hours ago, that his technicians have outlined the new order before the meeting.

The Eighth Section of the TSJM has resolved that limiting the entrances and exits, as the Health order does, is an “interference of the public powers in fundamental rights” because the measure has not been authorized, as during the state of alarm, due to The congress. Now, the possibility of declaring this exceptional state for Madrid remains in the air while Ayuso defends maintaining its own restrictions, based on the perimeter confinement of only the most affected health areas, and already rejected by the Ministry for not being sufficiently forceful for the level of contagion. “They are working,” defends the councilor.

For Rita, a 52-year-old domestic worker, “the virus already has a sufficient burden of uncertainty to continue to be fed by politicians.” He lives in the Usera neighborhood, within a basic health area affected by the restrictions decreed three weeks ago that fell due to the Health Order now also annulled. “It has surprised me that the courts have thrown this away and not what there was. Why do they ratify one order yes and another no,” he asks. Pedro wonders the same thing: “Why didn’t the confinement in Vallecas violate fundamental rights?”

The hoteliers are also amazed at the comings and goings of the measures. “And look, I have the TV on here at all hours, but there is one thing in the morning and not in the afternoon. I don’t know what to expect”, says David López, owner of an Asturian bar in Arganzuela partitions along the entire bar. The bar looks empty. The TV has a very loud voice, as usual to listen to something among the noise of other times. But now there is no one. “I thought that if they suspend the closure of Madrid it will be good for the bar, but I don’t know anymore.” One of the few certainties left by the latest ruling of the TSJM is that the restrictions on hotels and businesses are maintained (reduction of capacity, prohibition of consuming in bars and closing early at 11 pm) because they do not limit fundamental rights.

Among citizens, in addition to fatigue, there is growing “distrust” towards the politicians in charge of making decisions. “I have the feeling that we are in the middle of a political war,” assures Cristina, who is waiting for her son at the school gate. If you ask him about the measurements, he explains how he goes on the subway every morning, as if making a crowd gesture between people. “You must stop fighting for a few votes, I ask you please”, says Josefa Rodríguez, 78 years old. She is on the street because she has come to the doctor, but she assures that she does not go out “more than a little walk” when her daughter can accompany her. “Look that I was to hit anyone, now I don’t. It’s not out of desire,” he says. Josefa hopes that this Friday they will clarify if she can see her grandson of months, who lives in Rivas Vaciamadrid. “I think that even if I can, my daughter will not want to be a precaution,” he finally resigned.

Ultimately, Rita thinks, “many of us have assumed that it is up to our individual responsibility to control this when the environment is so rambling and so uncertain.” José Miguel, a thirty-year-old who works in fashion, is heavy with uncertainty. “It’s affecting me a lot on a psychological level. They tell you one thing and the next day it changes.”

Whether they are correct restrictions or not is another debate in which there are several positions. Most agree that they are tough, although the closure of Madrid raises doubts. “I don’t know if that can be controlled well. I think we should also focus on strengthening health a lot and fighting the social crisis,” says Sheila, who was going to go on vacation with her family this Monday. The plans were canceled and he has no body to reactivate them. “There will be time”, he convinces himself. Most say that in recent weeks they have already limited their social life to work, going out to the park with the children if they have one, and meeting with regular groups of people. “Then you see that in Aravaca they have organized a massive party and you see yourself, that you spend time going to the park because it is full …”, reflects Pilar.

Pilar, Pedro, Rita, Sheila, Josefa, Cristina, José Miguel, David are part of the five million people who will have to wait at least until this Friday to unravel their doubts. Everyone hopes that this time the political confrontation will not cut through the decisions to contain the pandemic.

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