“We want to eat!” Abkhaz react to delayed tourist season on social media
The border with Russia will be closed until July 15. The majority of local residents rely on the tourism industry for their income, and are now being put in a very difficult financial position.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, 38 people have been infected overall in Abkhazia. Four are being treated in a hospital in Gudauta, 33 have already recovered, and one 95-year-old patient has died.
How to survive during the pandemic with all borders closed has become one of the most heavily discussed topics in Abkhaz social media groups. Here is a brief summary of the main opinions expressed.
“Why not open the borders with Russia now? Why on the 15th? What will change in this time? Clearly, coronavirus will not simply fizzle out in this time, and the people are sitting here, hungry and angry.”
“There is nothing riding on the government’s decision. We can announce that we’re opening the borders a hundred times over, but nothing will come of it if Russia doesn’t do the same. I get the feeling that until Sochi is full of tourists, Abkhazia won’t open, and the summer season will be wasted.
“I have a big family. Four kids. And the only source of work my husband and I have is the tourist season. He grills BBQ and I work as a tour guide. The money we make in four months usually lasts us for the rest of the year. We don’t have a garden, we like in an apartment. I have no clue what we’re going to do now.”
“Please, just open the borders on one side. We’ll go there and find work at a resort.”
“My family is in a state of desperation. We want to eat. They say they can’t open the borders because it’s dangerous. Okay, then explain to me what my family and I are supposed to do?”
However, there are people who support the tough measures that the government has insisted on implementing. Many recall the dangerous morbidity and mortality statistics from coronavirus in Russia, including among their immediate neighbors in the North Caucasus.
Russia has the fourth-highest number of infections worldwide, and every day six to seven thousand new cases are reported. As of July 8, nearly 700,000 people were infected in the country, and the total number of deaths was 10,494. Doctors and experts, however, continue to claim that these statistics are falsified, and the real situation is much worse.
“Is it worth it to open the border? Having seen what is happening in Karachay-Cherkessia, I won’t be too happy if they do open! And if this wave of the pandemic really is this large, who will we appeal to, and who will save us?”
“Until the tourist season came around and there was still the threat of a pandemic, everyone called out in unison to close the borders. And now they’re shouting the opposite: open the border, we must earn money! But the threat of the pandemic is still there.”