Merkel's COVID address and our latest closures

I’ve been avoiding 99.9% of coronews out of self-preservation. But the Chancellor of Germany gave a rare televised address last night on the measures they’re taking here, and more importantly, WHY they’re taking them, that I thought showed refreshingly clear, honest, and stable leadership (remember that? it can still be a thing).

Here is the official English transcript, for my US friends and family especially, since I KNOW you’re facing the same threats but not getting the same messaging. Click through and read it — it’s not terribly long — if you’d like a little official straight-talk on the topic.

For context, here are some of the restrictions we’re now living with in Germany generally, Hesse and Frankfurt specifically that she is referring to:

  • Closure of the borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark. Requested stoppage of all elective travel, both domestic and international. Turning away incoming travelers at Frankfurt airport.
  • Closure of all schools, from preschool/daycare through university
  • Our transit has switched to running on the lighter summer holiday schedule. Which is just as well, because they have
  • Closure of ALL: Bars, clubs, pubs; Theaters, operas, concert halls, museums; Trade fairs, exhibitions, cinemas, leisure and animal parks and providers of leisure activities (indoors and outdoors), special markets, casinos, prostitution facilities, brothels; all public and private sports facilities, swimming pools, fitness studios; all other retail outlets not mentioned elsewhere in this document, and Playgrounds.
  • Nearly everyone who can work from home has been asked or required to.
  • Prohibition of all gathering in clubs/sports/leisure facilities as well as taking advantage of offers in adult education centers, music schools and other public and private educational institutions outside of school as well as travel by bus; also gathering in churches, mosques, synagogues and the gatherings of other religious communities.
  • Hotels should not be used for tourist purposes, only necessary business.
  • Restaurants may only open from 6am to 6pm, though it might be possible to do pick-up/take-out later/delivery later? It’s changing every day.

What’s still open (for now)?

Doctors offices and hospitals, obviously. Groceries, weekly markets (they’re like farmers markets), pick-up and delivery services, beverage stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, drug stores, gas stations, banks and savings banks, post offices, hairdressers, dry cleaners, laundromats, newspaper sales, construction, horticultural and pet supplies markets, probably hardware stores.

That’s it.

And it’s hard, because we ARE all used to more choices, more freedom, more clear guarantees and end-dates when we make compromises.

It was nice to hear Merkel acknowledge that, even as she told us what we already knew: that nobody can make any guarantees, that there are no knowable end-dates, but that maybe MAYBE our sacrifices can help shorten the time needed to live under these conditions.

Even so, I’m 100% sure it’s going to get worse before it gets better — curfews and electronic surveillance, like we’re seeing in other countries, maybe even violence. Those genies are harder to get back into bottles than just holding a grand re-opening sale.

Now it's your turn

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