Life is slowly but surely adapting to the ‘new normal’ with families now going out to beaches, visiting Muttrah Souq or taking a stroll on the corniche.
‘By wearing (a) mask you protect me and I protect you,’ says a Muscat Municipality roadside signboard on Muttrah corniche, which saw a rush of visitors last weekend.
Muscat Daily toured the popular family spots in the city and spoke to citizens and residents on their day out.
Richard Frost, who lives near Ghubra Beach Park visited the family’s favourite haunt on Saturday. “Life has to go on. We just got to live with it; live with it through personal responsibility. We have to make sure of following all the precautionary guidelines because life has to continue,” he reasoned. “We cannot lock everything down for an uncertain period of time. It is just not possible.”
He noted that earlier, when everything was under lockdown, no one was allowed to enter the park. “It was very difficult, but with the restrictions slowly easing, not just regular visitors but other families too can been seen visiting these days.”
A resident of Muttrah Corniche said, “It’s my first day on the promenade after four months of self-isolation inside our flat.”
Another resident of Muttrah taking a walk on the promenade, said, “The corniche is our meeting point on weekends. Our group of friends, sometimes as many as 30 of us, meet here. Thank God the res-trictions in the area have been eased.”
Mohammed Anas, an IT sector employee who was working from home until last week, too visited the seafront last week. He said it was a good time to go out as COVID-19 infections are reducing considerably. “Our two year old child can finally see and interact with people. In the last four months, she saw nobody except me and her mother.”
Anas noted that the lack of social interactions during the pandemic is one of his major concerns. “In normal circumstances, my daughter would have interacted with other children and adults but the pandemic has forced her into isolation. I do not know what impact it will have on her childhood.”
Raul de Cruz, who has been indoors like most others during the lockdown, visited Ghubra Beach Park last weekend. “Until now, I went out only if it was absolutely necessary. Today is our first day out since the restrictions were eased up. My four year old daughter was nervous initially but now she is moving around freely in the park,” he said.
“COVID-19 is part of our life now. We need to deal with it because life must go on.”
Muttrah Souq is returning to life with an increasing number of visitors every day. Khalifa al Muqbali, who was enjoying time out with four friends, had come all the way from Sohar following news of Muttrah Souq reopening.
“It is our preferred place for shopping and leisure. The COVID-19 cases seem to be dropping every day, but we must continue to follow the social distancing guidelines and other precautions as we venture out.”
Mohammed al Esaee, who has a perfume business in Bur-aimi, said, “The closure of Muttrah Souq was difficult for me because I procure raw materials and packaging from the souq. I could not do any business due to the closure of the souq. Thank God it is open now.”
Several beaches in Muscat came alive with children frolicking in the water and families seen on the sand. Anisa al Raisi, the first Omani woman to ski the Geographic North Pole, was seen readying an inflatable stand up paddleboard at Qurm Beach. She said she decided to lighten her mood by paddleboarding into the sunset. “It’ll make me feel better. Positive thoughts create positive behaviour.”
Also at Qurm beach, Sohail and his group of ten friends got together after four months. “We’re having a good time after a very long time. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting Qurm beach was the most normal thing to do,” he reminisced.
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