I should have been on Rügen today

Normally this is the week in June when I travel to see the Störtebeker Festspiele on Rügen and write about other places on the island to visit.

Not this year. The corona pandemic means that the theater is closed. So there will be no press preview to visit, no day on the green at the Bodden in Ralswiek, and no Erdbeerbecher in “Zum Störti”.

But until a few years ago the theatre produced DVDs of the performance, and these often pop up on ebay. I recently found the 2010 edition there, and since that is the year before my first visit to the island, it is one that I have never seen. So I will at least have a new play to see. It won’t be the same, though.

Coming out of Lockdown

It is now eleven weeks since Germany went into lockdown, and tomorrow is a big day because the schools re-open for the those years that been at home for the full eleven weeks, including the first years at the primary schools.

With the exception of the Easter holidays, our daily schedule has meant that we spend the mornings working, with myself working online and remotely for my clients and both my children doing their schoolwork which they either receive in advance by e-mail or through a portal that the primary school started using a few weeks ago.

Sometimes they had videos to watch that explained what they had to do, some lessons even took place using Zoom, and sometimes the work had to be sent back by a specific deadline.

A playground in Oberursel after they re-opened in May 2020

Playgrounds in Oberursel re-opened a few weeks ago

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Locking down further

It was one of those moments yesterday, that I suspect we won’t forget in a long time. At 6pm I sat down with the children and watched Chancellor Angela Merkel announce the measures that will take effect tomorrow.

Previously the town of Oberursel had announced a series of its own measures, including shutting playgrounds and other outdoor facilities until further notice. The rubbish tip will remain closed. The swimming pool will remain closed. Bus services will be reduced. Bus drivers will no longer serve tickets.

Then came the 6pm press conference, and the national rules. Something almost unheard of in the Federal system in Germany of the past 70 years.

With the exception of supermarkets, weekly markets, delivery services, collection services, drinks shops, chemists, petrol stations, medical suppliers, banks, building societies, post offices, hair dressers, dry cleaners, launderetts, newspaper sellers, DIY stores, gardening stores, animal food stores and wholesalers, all shops are to close.

Bars, clubs, discos, pubs and similar establishments are to close, as are theatres, cinemas, exibitions, trade fairs, zoos and leisure parks. All public and private sports grounds are to close, as well as swimming pools, playgrounds, and fitness studios.

Restaurants are only allowed to open between 6am and 6pm. Tables should be set apart and the number of guests limited.

Hotel rooms are not to be used by tourists.

In addition to the information from the press conference, a number of borders with Germany were already being closed to everyone except goods traffic, people with cross-border jobs and returning German nationals.

Many of the islands in the North Sea and Baltic Sea are being cut off from the mainland, with no visitors allowed and only their residents being allowed to return. Tourists are being asked to leave.

Working from home is not really a problem. Co-ordinating it with two children doing their schoolwork from home is something new.

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