For the 38th daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Sveta Stepanova. Sveta is a 30-year-old inline skater, orthodontist and university teacher living in Minsk, Belarus.

What is the current situation with COVID-19 in Belarus?

There is no government lockdown in Belarus, but like the rest of the world, our life has changed. When possible, some people are able to work from home. As an orthodontist, because of the potential danger, it has been difficult for me to work in such close contact with patients in our practice. For this reason, government medical clinics quit offering non-emergency medical services a month ago.

I am also working at the university teaching orthodontics to foreign students. We are now using zoom to teach all of our classes online. My work life has absolutely changed during this time. Most schools were completely closed for a few of weeks, but have since re-opened with many kids choosing not to return.

We are trying to stay at home most of the time. When we go out to the market or other places we wear masks. I can’t say that there aren’t people out and about. Especially now that it is getting warmer, many people want to spend time outside.

Are you still skating? If so what precautions are you taking to stay safe?

Yes I am, since we are not under quarantine, it is still possible to skate. I am trying to be careful though, skating outside, in a big area, with fresh air. It is healthier to get out and skate, rather than stay at home all day. Also when I’m out skating, I don’t used public transportation and always use antiseptic sanitizer to clean my hands.

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If you haven’t stopped skating, what would make you stop?

Starting at the end of March, I was very sick and didn’t skate for almost a month. I was never tested, so I don’t if it was coronavirus. It was a strange and unusual sickness, that I have never experienced, and effected me for a long time.

Are you doing any cross training?

Actually no, but I want to. Currently I am just skating. I wanted to go to gym this spring, but you can understand why I didn’t!

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life?

Other than how COVID-19 has affected my work, it has had some pluses as well. I have a lot more time to read articles and books. I also have been watch webinars. In my profession it is necessary to learn everyday.

What are your major concerns right now and looking into the future?

It is hard no know how many COVID-19 patients we actually have in Belarus. It doesn’t seem as bad here as in places like Italy, but who knows? That is why we are wearing masks everywhere we go, keeping our distance and using antiseptic sanitzer.

Like in the rest of the world, it’s a difficult time for our economy. It is not strong and we are facing the potential of a serious economic crisis. Even without a quarantine in place, people still don’t go anywhere or buy anything. Everyday we hear that we already have a crisis in different sectors of the economy. We want our lives to get back to normal. We want travel this summer, we had a lot of plans, but now we don’t know if any of them will be possible.

How is your local skate community responding?

I still see some people out skating, however Belarus does not have a big skating community, especially when it comes to freestyle slalom skating, so I mainly skate alone.

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