This week marks two months of lockdown and what a week it has been!
Germany announced that the first phase of the pandemic is over and relaxed quite a few social distancing measures. Meanwhile, we (quietly) celebrated 8 years of marriage and a name day, and got some hopeful news for a return to “normality”.
But first things first.
What’s been happening in Germany
This week saw Germany adding another 10,000 confirmed infections of COVID-19 bringing the total count up to just over 170,000 with almost 7,500 deaths. Even though the number of confirmed cases has been slowly rising the past few days, the virus is considered to be “contained”. And over 80% of the people infected have already recovered.
This week museums, zoos, and churches across the country gradually opened up to visitors, and playgrounds could be used again. The most excitement though was caused by the reopening of hair salons on Monday. I had no idea that so many people were desperate for a haircut!
By Tuesday German politics had turned into a race of federal states in loosening virus containment measures. One state decided that up to 5 people can meet up (the country-wide regulation was 2 at that point). Another announced opening restaurants and beer gardens the following week. A third outlined plans for reopening kindergartens.
The much-anticipated Wednesday meeting between the chancellor and the heads of the Bundesländer announced some restrictions that will be lifted Germany-wide. Most notably, all shops can now reopen, two households can meet up, and the Bundesliga can play again (check out this NYT article for an excellent overview of all that has changed).
The press conference that followed the meeting was full of phrases like “cautious optimism” and “brave but sensible”. And the states got an official green light to continue lifting the restrictions as they see fit for their situation. However, there is now an emergency brake: if any municipality sees their new daily infections exceed 50 per 100,000 inhabitants for seven days, they have to go back into lockdown. (It appears that this regulation will already be tested in the next few days…)
Long story short, Germany is opening up. But, with federal solutions being the rule, most people have no clue anymore about what is allowed where.
Speaking of people’s opinions, according to the latest polls, the majority of the population is happy with such federal solutions, however, 45% disagree. 81% of Germans are satisfied with the way the government is handling the pandemic. And 47% think that the pace of easing the measures is just right, while 38% think that it should be slower.
This means that roughly 1 in 10 Germans are not happy with the way the government has been handling things. This minority is largely made up of the far-right, conspiration theory believers, and anti-vaxxers and they are getting louder.
Life in our home
Even though Germany has taken huge steps towards reopening, not much has changed for us personally. We’re still at home, doing our best to work and to take care of the kids. With the exception of groceries, we’ve been shopping mostly online for years and continue doing so. We’re still limiting our contacts with family and friends.
Yes, we can now stop by a playground from time to time. But, like many parents these days, we prefer to avoid crowded places. And, to be completely honest, we’ve never been very enthusiastic playground-goers (as opposed to many Germans who like to bring loads of snacks and hang around for half the day).
What will finally make a difference in our day-to-day life of the past 2 months, will be the reopening of kindergartens. This is a topic that was left on the back burner for a very long time, frustrating all parents across the country. As of Friday, the city of Hamburg finally has a plan with specified dates. It remains to be seen how the daycares will implement the new regulations in practice.
On Monday people across the world celebrated Star Wars Day (#maythe4thbewithyou), Latvians celebrated independence day, and hubby and I marked our 8th wedding anniversary. This year it was a quiet event with homemade mojitos and a movie after the kids had gone to bed.
Our youngest’s name day a few days later was similarly subdued affair. He didn’t mind though – what more do you need if you have gifts and cake!
On Tuesday Birdy decided that she wants a more structured daily routine. It’s not like we haven’t had a routine these past weeks. We have. But apparently it wasn’t specific enough for our daughter who would only realize at bedtime that there are things she hasn’t yet done today.
I hope that we won’t be needing her new routine pie chart for long. With any luck, next week might be the last of working from home with both kids at home.
I have to admit I’m a little scared of needing to get out of the house on time in the morning. Due to the long lockdown, none of us gets out of bed before 8 am and don’t even get me started about our bedtimes!
3 things I’m loving right now
Concerts on Instagram and Facebook are among the things that have brought me a lot of joy these past months. My highlight of the week is Gary Lightbody’s (you may know him as the vocalist on Snow Patrol) session of covers on IGTV.
José Andrés, the chef and all-round amazing person, is doing a lot of truly inspiring things. And some really fun stuff on the side, like his #RecipesForThePeople videos on Twitter.
This week we at Multicultural Kid Blogs have been busy putting together a beautiful message of kindness for these difficult times. Kindness is contagious! Check it out below (and see if you can spot me).