I took a drive for the first time in over a month of lockdown. I drove 10 minutes down the road to the tabac to pick up some tobacco for a friend who’s living with us. I know it doesn’t seem like an essential, but it’s essential to him.
I filled out the form we need to take with us. You can download it on your phone now, which is much easier. We can only go out for essentials and we have to have Attestation de déplacement et de voyage signed and dated with some ID. The police were stopping everyone in the early days and there are heavy fines for those out without the form or for unauthorised outings, but I didn’t pass any gendarmes on my short journey.
It felt odd… the roads were quieter than normal and I was more than a little anxious. The 10 minute drive seemed strangely long… How could such a short distance seem so far? I arrived at the tabac and parked. I looked down at the mask sat on the passenger seat next to me. Was that really necessary? I wasn’t sure and felt a bit silly putting it on, but when I got out the car I saw a queue of three people outside the tabac, all at least 2m apart and two of them were wearing a mask. I guess this is the new norm then…
It was slightly surreal. No other shops were open in the street, no other people around, except the people queuing at the tabac. There were two people in the shop (on being served and one waiting). It took some time, but eventually it was my turn. The shop keeper was protected by a huge perspex shield across the counter. A video screen next to the till was airing instructions and advise on practicing safe social distancing and the necessity to wash hands etc. I gave my order, put on my gloves, picked up the goods, paid by contactless card and left.
Back in the car I sprayed the packets with some homemade antibacterial spray, sprayed my gloves, took them off, then rubbed my hands with anti-bacterial gel, careful to not touch my face, and drove home. At home, I went straight upstairs, changed my clothes and showered. We cannot take any risks here.
Will I be venturing out again? Not anytime soon!
Stay safe everyone.
You can also find out more about family life if France in my book “What have we got Toulouse? A family moving to France“.
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