It’s deeply unfair that museums, theaters and gyms have to shut down. But it’s sorely needed for contact minimization.
Garden chairs out of service: restaurants are only allowed to sell to-go Photo: dpa
They have developed sophisticated hygiene concepts. Some have acquired spotlights and heating pads. Strict admission rules apply, one-way streets are meticulously marked. They really have done everything that seems humanly possible. And now? As of this Monday, restaurants, pubs and hotels are once again closed. Museums, concert halls and memorials are shutting down, gyms and sports clubs are barricading their doors. Isn’t that deeply unfair?
Yes, it is. Especially since no one will claim that a collection of Old Masters or the polar bear enclosure pose any risk of contagion. But in fact, all the establishments that have now been closed are not suspected of being clandestine corona throwers at all. Their guilt lies solely in the fact that they are points of attraction for people, without it being possible to determine in retrospect who might have gotten too close to whom. That is exactly what it is all about: minimizing contacts between people. And with the number of infections increasing every day, this appears to be bitterly necessary.
It is also not arbitrary that the assembly lines at VW are allowed to continue moving. In industrial production, as in offices, workplaces are generally personalized, and it is possible to track which contacts have taken place. Rather, one could ask why shopping malls are allowed to remain open and what raison d’être furniture stores have.
But the fact remains that the measures are deeply annoying for those affected. Unfortunately, there is a lack of alternative suggestions. The virus takes no account of supposedly normal life. It doesn’t even take into account the promises made by politicians that if we all adapted to the pandemic, a family-friendly Christmas under the Christmas tree would be possible. No one knows if in a month the infection numbers will have dropped enough to lift the restrictions. The desire for long-term planning is therefore as benign as it is understandable. But anyone who claims today to have a plan in place by the end of February is lying. Those who demand such a plan are spreading hope for security and regulated conditions that are not currently available. It is just as well to buy a crystal ball.
In fact, it’s all about one thing: buying a few months of time until – this too is only a hope, albeit a well-founded one – a vaccine becomes available.