Does it feel to you like April has come back, even though it is November?
Germany today increases its COVID-19 restrictions to pretty much what it was like in the Spring. Schools and churches remain open (for now), as do most shops (with restrictions on the number of people allowed inside at a time).
Restaurants though are limited to take-out only. Gatherings are limited in public and private. Sporting teams will once again play in empty arenas and stadiums. Hotels are closed, and non-essential travel strongly discouraged.
More restrictions may be coming if COVID-19 cases continue to increase. And my guess is they are going to increase, at least for a week or so. That’s do in part to mixed messages from the politicians.
The new lockdown was announced last Thursday to take effect today. For three days people went to restaurants and got together with friends, knowing that this was their last chance for at least a month. How many people will have been infected at those gatherings?
I understand the political dilemma. You want to give people some warning, especially as last week was a school holiday and many families were away on vacation.
Still, if this is truly an emergency, shouldn’t the new rules have come into effect immediately? You can make exceptions for those traveling perhaps, use some common sense in enforcement, but if you need to clamp down, then do so. Delaying, even for a few days, sends mixed messages.
And then there are the restrictions that seem like overkill.
For the past few weeks I have been avoiding Freiburg because I have no desire to wear a mask when walking along a city street. I understand there is a theoretical possibility I could catch COVID-19 from an unmasked passerby, but the odds are astronomical. Since I don’t like wearing the mask, I have avoided Freiburg.
Saturday though I went to Staufen, fairly near to my home in Sulzburg. There I discovered that town has mandated the wearing of masks in the pedestrian area. I was not impressed.
About half the people in the city core were unmasked. Given that the signs were easy to miss, I don’t know if they were ignorant or defiant. Does it matter?
Everyone I know is tired of COVID-19. Time and time again we have heard the “experts” change their minds on what we should be doing to stop the spread of this disease. All we ask for is clarity.
For me the choice is simple. I’ll follow the rules, even if I disagree with them. But I still have a choice.
If your municipality requires me to wear a mask outdoors, I think I’ll spend my time elsewhere. If that hurts your economy because I am not spending anything in your stores, that is a choice you have made.
I’m hoping that it doesn’t reach the point where masks are mandatory everywhere. It doesn’t make sense that they would be, but there’s not much about 2020 so far that has made sense.