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@misthiocracy thought I should share some thoughts about the situation here in Germany with folks on FB, but I thought, “Why not Ricochet first?” And here I am with some impressions.
Here in Bayern, on the order of our Governor, Markus Söder, we have, since midnight last Thursday, not been allowed to go on walks with anyone who is not a family member. No picnics or barbeques, either (Germans are nuts about the latter, if you did not know- better than southerners even), and you have to maintain 1.5m distance from other people in line at any of the stores that are still open (drugstores, grocers, chemists, specialty food stores, supermarkets in the Walmart mode and that is about it.). Churches, houses of prayer, schools, bars, cinemas, opera houses, basically any kind of business or establishment where more than 3 people could interact are closed- basically it’s like New York (as I hear). And yet, last I checked, public transportation is still in operation. You know, busses and trams. Mobile disease breeding labs and infection damn-near-assurance zones. That aside, most people are observing this curfew…some with grumbling and most with good humor and many of my associates with even more than usual prayer and worship- which we are steeped in already, being part of a 24/7 prayer movement anyway.
So, German word of the evening: “Spuckschutz” = lit. “spittle protection” or “spittle shield”. What it is, is a piece of acrylic plexiglass put between the shopkeeper and the customer at your drug store, gas station and so forth to protect from droplet transmission of Corona and other viruses. It is now the main product being produced by a German company that normally makes steel and plexiglass fittings for bars and restaurants and the things are literally flying out of the warehouse. One of the most encouraging things that I have seen here is that the private sector is reacting much more sensibly, flexibly and quickly than the various national and provincial/state governments to real needs. And there’s the gourmet restaurant supplier in Berlin who has taken the product he would ordinarily be sold to the best restaurants in the capital decided to sell them to any who would buy them at an improvised open market, helping himself and giving his new customers foods they otherwise would not be able to afford. There are scores of other such examples here. I am hoping that people notice this here and that it shakes their generally blind and historically incomprehensible trust in the State’s ability to cure all ills.
As to how the country is faring; Germany is coping with the outbreak better than its neighbors. The measures the private and public sector took early on – including closing the border to traffic from Italy-had their intended effect. The responsible decision-makers in politics and business are facing the same kinds of decisions that their counterparts in the States are facing: When do we end the curfew, when do we crank up the engines of business and commerce again and how quickly, when can the borders be fully opened again? And so on. Personally, we are coping well. The sight of shelves emptied of every form of toilet paper (except the pre-moistened kind, no one is buying that) and hand soap is a bit disconcerting, but not really a problem for us. We always buy in advance. Closing schools is not as huge an adjustment for us as for our Bavarian neighbors, either. We had homeschooled for years, so having the schools close was just back to the good old days for us, in a way. I work from home, or where ever my laptop happens to be, all the time anyway, so that is no change at all. It remains to be seen, though, if the recent upturn in business holds.Published in