AP PHOTOS: Madrid stores close, city falls quiet in pandemic

International

In this Monday, April 20, 2020 photo, detail of the entrance of a cafe closed during the coronavirus outbreak in Madrid, Spain. The Spanish Trade Confederation, which represents thousands of small businesses, says up to 30% of them nationwide will close their doors forever unless they get government financial help. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID (AP) — Mannequins in store windows display yesterday’s fashion, empty store shelves gather dust, cardboard and sheets cover products that until recently were considered necessary for our well-being.

Spain’s strict lockdown amid the coronavirus, which has caused 22,157 confirmed fatalities in the country, has left Madrid shuttered and silent.

It’s a new cityscape. It feels eerie and poetic, but also sad.

The Spanish capital, which has a population of around 6.6 million, has left behind its usual 24-hour bustle.

Now, stores are motionless behind their roller shutters and security grilles. The goods for sale are vestiges of what seems a distant lifestyle.

The Spanish Trade Confederation, which represents thousands of small businesses, says up to 30% of them nationwide will close their doors forever unless they get government financial help.

Spanish authorities are gradually relaxing the confinement measures, but there is still no word on when stores may be allowed to reopen.

Some of the shop fronts have shutters in red or yellow, others have painted designs or graffiti.

Some have signs outside: “Closed as a precaution,” “We’re staying at home for obvious reasons,” “#QuedateEnCasa” (#stayathome), they read.

One has a heart with the words, “See you around! Take care.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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