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Alone Together: Coronavirus Around the World (Germany)
Intro CopyThe world has never been so united, even if that uniting force is isolation. This post is part of a series created by CultureGrams editors that features first-hand accounts of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on individuals in different countries. Today's installment is written by Janina, a woman who lives in Hamburg, Germany. My Name is Janina, I’m a mother of two sons (3 and 6 years old) living in Hamburg, Germany. During the first week of March, I was on a skiing holiday in Austria with friends. At that time, Coronavirus had only spread to Italy and we thought we would be safe during our trip. But one person in our group got infected by COVID-19. Luckily, he is well again and hopefully immune now. He had symptoms three days after our return and tested positive. As soon as he received his result our whole skiing group was forced to be in quarantine by law for 14 days since we were the last to have contact with him. We were not allowed to leave home or have friends or family visiting for 14 days. The law states that everyone who has been in contact with an infected person for at least 15 minutes and has had face-to-face contact has to be in quarantine. If you don’t follow the rules you can be fined. Since my boys had picked us up from the station and sat face-to-face with the infected person, they were in quarantine as well. Fortunately, my husband was still allowed to go outside, so he went to work and took care of groceries, etc. My sons and I haven’t shown any symptoms, so we think we haven’t had COVID-19, but we didn’t get tested. While we were in quarantine the general restrictions in Germany increased. So we never really got out of quarantine. Now the following rules apply for everyone:
- Stay home!
- You are allowed to go:
- to work (but must people I know work from home now)
- out for a walk / exercise
- shopping for basic needs
- While outside you need to keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters (4 feet, 11 inches) from other people. Even in grocery stores you need to keep that distance. Security outside the stores only allows a few people to go inside. In the stores they have marks on the floor to keep the distance while queuing.
- No one is allowed to socialize with people that don’t live in the same household.
- The following facilities are closed:
- Shops, except for grocery stores, pharmacies, bakeries, and drug stores
- Schools, kindergarten, universities
- Sports grounds, swimming pools, and playgrounds
- Restaurants (they are only allowed to offer take out)
- You are not allowed to travel (only business trips), and no foreigner is allowed to come to Germany except if they work in Germany regularly.