Lockdown Light Part Deux, Lockdown Eye-to-Eye or Loosening of the Lockdown? The Confusing Measures from an American Expat’s Perspective

Simplicity is key. Simplicity is something people needed in order to be clearly informed and take measures. Simplicity is what is missing from the Corona Measures that the German government passed in the wee hours of the morning. For those who have tested their nerves for endurance and tolerance towards the Lockdown that has been in place since mid-December, congratulations! You’ve earned it as you now have a chance to meet your friends again- but only in limited numbers.  For restaurants and cafés struggling to keep afloat, you will be able to entertain guests very soon- before Easter.  For hospitals and medical facilities, you bought yourselves enough time to prepare for the third wave!

Wait a minute! Take that back. Many are not happy with the loosening of the lockdown.

As the measures were being introduced, the number of daily Corona cases in Germany jumped to 12,000 with the incidence rate stabilizing at 65 per 100,000. Other countries are bracing for a third wave due to the prevalence of the variants from Brazil, Britain, South Africa and even one emerged from New York State last week. These variants are more dangerous than the original virus itself as they can spread three to six times as fast.

Yet businesses have suffered from the effects of the lockdown. No matter which sector- travel, commerce, gardening, clothing, retail, gastronomy, culture- all have sustained losses from a lack of visitors and some businesses have either shuttered or are planning to because they don’t have the liquidity nor the visitors to carry on. Therefore the government became sandwiched between the two extremes- business and the virus; profits versus people’s lives; freedom versus confinement.

So what do we have for new measures, which will take place come next week?

Lockdown will be extended through March 28th, however the restrictions will be loosened. Specifically:

  • There is a five-step plan to relaxing restrictions on a regional or state level
  • Each step will be taken every 14 days if regional infection numbers are stable or reduced
  • An emergency brake system will return regions to current lockdown levels if there are three consecutive days with an incidence rate above 100 per 100,000 people per week
  • At least one free rapid test per week will be available for all residents of Germany starting March 8

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The five-step guidelines features the following:

  • Step one: Schools, daycare, and hairdressers reopen. This step already took place in some states and on some education levels on Monday, March 1.
  • Step two, starting March 8: Bookstores and florists can reopen with the condition of one customer per 10 square meters. Contact-based professions, such as massage practices, are also allowed to reopen with a negative test result.
  • Step three, starting March 8 at the earliest: If the recorded cases are less than 50 per 100,000 people, public spaces such asmuseums, zoos and gardens can reopen, as well as retail businesses with at least 10 square meters of space per customer.  In addition, up to 10 people can play non-contact outdoor sports. If the incidence rate is between 50 to 100, access to spaces such as museums and retail businesses would be on a pre-booking basis, with at least 40 square meters per customer in shops.  And lastly, a maximum of five people, from no more than two households, could then play non-contact outdoor sports.
  • Step four, starting March 22 at the earliest: If the rate remains under 50, outdoor dining, theaters, concert venues, cinemas and opera houses can reopen. People could then practice non-contact sports indoors and contact sports outdoors. If the infection rate is between 50 to 100, outdoor dining would only be allowed on a pre-booking basis.
  • Step five, starting April 5 at the earliest: If the infection rate remains under 50, up to 50 people can gather for outdoor recreational events, and sports restrictions will be lifted. If the infection rate is between 50 to 100, shops can reopen with at least 10 square meters per customer. Outdoor non-contact sports and indoor contact-based exercises are allowed.

Source: https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-germany-extends-lockdown-with-plan-to-relax-restrictions/a-56763824

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The key factors are that the people are required to undergo testing on a daily basis and the results must be presented up to 48 hours before entering a store and for most places, appointments must be made in advance, which means walk-ins are not allowed. And a limit inside stores are possible in order reduce the number of people inside the stores.

This leads to my question based on the heading: Is it a Lockdown Light, Lockdown on an Eye-to-Eye Level (Augenmass) or Loosening of the Guidelines?  This one I have no answer to, but it depends on the perspectives seen. As a merchant, it feels like lockdown light with limited service and arbitrary openings and closings, which may be potentially fatal for some. As a customer, who has to stand in line, it’s an eye-to-eye lockdown to ensure everyone takes their turn entering and upon entrance in the store, the time is limited. You cannot walk-in spontaneously nor dawdle in the stores, which most people sometimes do. So much for window-shopping and when it comes to efficiency in time and shopping, much of it will be spent in line waiting to enter the shops, while we encounter passers-by, especially in the shopping miles in the city centers in Germany. Yet it’s loosening of the guidelines because it gives us some fresh air and time to see our friends and relatives- in person. While birthday parties and picnics are limited, it’s better than being alone, right?

But if you want my opinion of whether these guidelines help, my answer has to be a „Jein!“ (YEIN!)- a combination of yes and no! We’re moving towards a sense of normalcy where we can visit people again and do some shopping, yet the five-step plan is complicated and will cause confusion among merchants, the city council and even the state for two reasons:

  1. The Emergency Brake of 100 per 100,000- Some states, like Saxony and some districts, like in northeastern Bavaria have to wait before they allow for stores to reopen because of high rates of Covid-19. It’s considered very arbitrary and could result in legal challenges.  Furthermore, it’s like playing musical chairs- one week you open but when the incidence rate jumps to over 100, you close down, yet some businesses will be able to take a seat while others will be forced to walk.
  2. Simplicity. I started with this word in my column and will say it again. Simplicity is the key for addressing measures like this in order for the public to understand the situation and act accordingly as described by the government and the guidelines. This new plan may be easy to understand by a scholar, yet for the common folk, it’s too complicated and will result in conflict in interest and again, legal challenges.

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Germany, like Europe and the United States, is unable to adapt to new scenarios like the Corona Virus and have tried everything possible to make things easier for everyone, but in all reality, it is considered more complicated to understand (at least indirectly). Furthermore, restrictions have resulted in rebellions in some states, like in Texas and Mississippi, which have announced the total lifting of restrictions including wearing masks. In order to ensure that people understand the situation and act properly without causing a riot, laws that are passed must be simple and easy to understand, yet they must be transparent and benefit everyone. Up until now and with the recent guidelines, no one will be happy and there will be legal challenges in the weeks to come. What we need is a black-and-white approach, which means either all must open but with some restrictions, like wearing masks and limiting people who shop or all must close until 60-70% of the population are innoculated and businesses must reinvent themselves.

But before going to this black-and-white approach, we must look to our other friends who have gone through the Covid-19 and the restrictions- namely New Zealand, China, Vietnam, Canada and other countries. Research on what they did in response to Corona and try to adopt this to our plan. The question must be answered with this: „How have our international partners responded to the virus and what was the effect on the public? How have the people cooperated with the government with the guidelines?“  For some reasons, we’re too inflexible and too complicated to respond to the virus.

And this is dangerous, for we need our neighbors should another virus come in the future. Asia has learned from SARS in 2003. It’s time we learn from the Corona Virus to plan for the future . And we must keep it simple. Simplicity is the key.

Austria is changing its vaccine strategy, it will not rely on the EU alone

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz PHOTO: Reuters Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced that he is changing his strategy on vaccines and will not rely solely on EU policy in the future. As he points out today in statements quoted by the media, various medicines are still being produced in Austria and this could help solve […]

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Eurovision is still planned in person; published safe protocol / Article / LSM.lv

Published by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) together with representatives of the Netherlands the Eurovision Safe Minutes, which provides for essential security measures to be observed by all tenderers and delegations. The protocol is similar to that used at major sporting events and has been agreed with the Dutch epidemiological safety supervisors. “The spirit and […]

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Selina Jörg wins gold in the parallel giant slalom

Selina Jörg fell into the snow, stunned, and, as the two-time world champion, kept shaking her head. The German snowboarder raced to World Cup gold in the parallel giant slalom at the season highlight in Rogla in Slovenia, successfully defending her 2019 title. “I’m speechless,” said the 33-year-old on Monday after the final victory over […]

Selina Jörg wins gold in the parallel giant slalom

Sports News – Irv Cross

Cross, Pioneering Black Sports Analyst, Dies At 81 – Irv Cross, the former Pro Bowl defensive back who became the first Black man to work full time as a sports analyst on national television with CBS, died Sunday. He was 81. The Philadelphia Eagles, with whom Cross spent six of his nine NFL seasons, said Cross’ […]

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The pioneering of broadcasting went back to the 1970s and the NFL Today was the first to introduce a diverse culture when it debuted in 1975. Irv Cross was the first black American to co-host the sports show, alongside Phyllis George, Jimmy the Greek and of course, Brent Musberger. It was a real treat watching them do the analysis of the games and each NFL football team. Irv was a classic- straight forward, humorous and a man who knew the game both on and off the field. He will be missed. 🏈🏟️🎙️❤️🌻

10 Weird Sounding Words and What They Mean. — THE SOMETHING GUY

The English language is, quite possibly, one of the strangest languages out there. Do you bloviate and carry a Bumbershoot with you while you lollygag? Yes, that was English… Let’s explore some of the craziest words in the English language. 1. Bumfuzzle. Refers to being confused, perplexed, or flustered. Your grandparents might even say this […]

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Umbrella Day – Let’s talk all things Schirm — More than Beer and Schnitzel

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. There are no additional costs to you. 1,648 more words

Umbrella Day – Let’s talk all things Schirm — More than Beer and Schnitzel

While we talk about root words and their meanings in both English and German, there is one root word in German that we know about, which is “Schirm.” First thing we think of with this word is Regenschirm, which means Umbrella. Yet there are dozens of other meanings of Schirm, especially when we add the prefixes to them. Anika Rieper shows you the origins and usage of the German word “Schirm.” Have fun reading about it. 🙂

New top story from Time: ‘If This Task Was Urgent Before, It’s Crucial Now.’ U.N. Says World Has 10 Months to Get Serious on Climate Goals

The language of diplomacy rarely allows for a true sense of emotion or urgency. But reading between the lines of the latest report commissioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—the body representing the 197 member nations of the Paris Agreement to minimize a global average temperature rise this century—the message is […]

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Nouns and Expressions about the Body- The Shoulder

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

There are two different meanings of shoulder that one sometimes doesn’t pay attention to. The first one is very obvious when looking at the picture above. The shoulder is part of the human body. In German, we would use the word Schulter. Little do people realize is that shoulder has a second meaning, which can be seen in the picture below:

Photo by Sebastian Palomino on Pexels.com

Imagine you are travelling down this road and you must pull off to the side because of car issues or you needed to make an emergency run. The shoulder here is a lane on the outer side of the road where you can park your car. And while that may be difficult to see in the picture above……

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

…..it’s more clearly seen in this picture, where the shoulder here is marked off by a straight line. Shoulder can be known as parking or stopping lane. The German meaning is Standstreifen.

Yet shoulder has over four dozen noun and idiomatic expressions in English, although a fracton of them are used on a regular basis. Which ones are those?

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Exercise 1. Look at the six pictures below and choose the best answer for each one. The expressions below are to be used only once. The first picture in the slide show is considered picture one.

Shoulder to cry on

To rub one’s shoulders

To give someone the cold shoulder

Shoulder-length hair

To stand shoulder to shoulder

To have the world on one’s shoulders

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Exercise 2: For each of the following expressions, choose the correct meaning

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  1. To have a chip on your shoulder means…..

a. You are a rookie with little or no experience b. You are a person who easily gets angry

c. You have a negative attitude in life d. None of the statements

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2. To be on one’s shoulder is the same as……

a. To keep an eye on the person b. To monitor the person closely

c. To observe the person for actions and other behaviors d. All of the statements fit.

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3. To be a weight off one’s shoulders means the same as………

a. To be a burden to one’s problems b. To complete a task that is highly problematic and time consuming

c. Talking about a serious problem with a friend d. Both b & c

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4. To have broad shoulders means you……

a. Can multi-task b. Take on several tasks and responsibilities

c. To do the job of three people d. To be a strong, tough man

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5. A hard shoulder is the same as……….

a. A tough and really agressive person b. A hard lesson that is painful

c. A side of the road made of concrete or pavement where a person can pull over

d. A decisive defeat in combat sports like wrestling or kickboxing

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6. If you look over your shoulder, what must you do?

a. Look back in the past b. Look at what others are doing because they may sabotage you

c. To watch the actions of others carefully because you don’t trust them.

d. Both b & c.

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Exercise 3- Music Video

You will have an opportunity to watch a Music Video entitled “Over My Shoulder,” a song produced by the American music group, Mike and the Mechanics in 2002. To understand the meaning of the song, you should do the following in order:

  1. Silent-viewing: Watch the video without the sound and make notes of the scenes played out there.
  2. Blind viewing: Listen to the song without watching the video and make notes involving the lyrics sung by the group. Here you may have to listen to the song more than once.
  3. Watch the whole video with the sound. Compare the notes and find the main idea behind this song.
  4. Answer the question: Why the title “Over My Shoulder?”

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You will find the answers to the first two exercises plus other expressions and a video per link by clicking here.

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‘World’s Oldest’ Brewery Unearthed in Ancient Egyptian City

Even the ancients had a taste for a good brewski. Archaeologists recently discovered what they believe to be a 5,000 year old brewing site in Abydos, Egypt, making it the world’s oldest known brewery. One of Egypt’s oldest cities, Abydos is home to many temples and tombs, some of which contain the remains of early […]

‘World’s Oldest’ Brewery Unearthed in Ancient Egyptian City