We have all been asked to stay at home until April 5 – at least. So how was our first day under curfew? Or you can say “under house arrest”.
For us it was very relaxed and peaceful. Not least because we do not have a job or kids to look after. That makes a huge difference.
In this country such a situation has not occurred since World War II. For obvious reasons we do not remember that.
But I recall very clearly the so-called oil crisis in autumn 1973. Many activities were not allowed, such as driving the cars on Sundays.
I also remember it, because I was directly involved in an EU summit in Copenhagen – also on a Sunday. It was a challenge.
Back to now and to Belgium. I made my usual walk yesterday. And I have never met so many other people, also out for a walk. Young and old. With or in most cases without a dog.
Friendly, smiling, saying hello hello ( as the Belgians always are very good at !).
We also went shopping. All shops are closed now – except food stores, pharmacies, hairdressers and gas stations.
We went to our small local supermarket Delhaize. Hardly any cars outside. And lots of people inside – most of them staff.
According to the new regulations this shop is allowed to have max. 25 clients inside simultaneously ( 10 sq.m. per client ).
Our supermarket has also made a new rule that people who are 65 years old or more have priority – between 7 and 8 in the morning.
I am not sure that we will be among them 😊
Outdoor markets – which play a very important role in this country – are forbidden.
But you can have your food and dinners brought to your doorstep.
Many restaurants which are closed offer that service now. We will try it out – also to support them.
We are not allowed to visit our neighbours. But we can call them or wave to each other. As our nice Belgian friend and neighbour calls it: from bunker to bunker !
Our telephone company Proximus also makes an extra effort.
It now offers – without payment – unlimited internet, free calls on fixed lines, 10 GB more broadband to mobile clients, more films and entertainment to TV clients, etc.
And many museums here, in Paris and in New York offer free on-line access to big parts of their collections.
People here haven’t yet – like in Italy and Aarhus – started singing from their windows, balconies and terraces. But it will hopefully come 😊
All this cannot and should note hide the fact that we are all in a very serious situation.
In Germany chancellor Merkel yesterday addressed the nation and compared the situation today to the one during World War II.
President Macron said the other day: We are at war!
Hopefully this will make everybody understand, also the younger generations, how important it is that we all do what is required and recommended.
As a friend said the other day: Our young people have never tried anything like this before. It has always been progress and new opportunities. Perhaps it is good for them to experience, that things can be different!
This was my short “report from the front!.
Unfortunately, it will last some time, before we all know, if what we do is helping.