The lockdown in India has gone on for about 2 months already. However, there are some countries where the lockdown has already been lifted.
And the harsh reality is that even though the lockdown has ended there, the practice of social distancing hasn’t. Things are only an interpretation of what was once normal.
We will still be expected to wear masks in public, for the sake of our own safety and that of others. We will be required to practice social distancing, avoid crowding places and eating too close to each other at restaurants.
Though schools and universities may open soon, our standards of hygiene will have to change. In China, the schools have pulled apart desks, put up blinders to avoid contact amongst children. There are scanning machines outside every restaurant to check the temperature and make sure no who is showing symptoms is entering the premises.
In Spain, children are now allowed to leave their homes with an adult once per day and go on walks around their area. Museums and libraries are slowly opening and so are hairdressers, tattoo studios, gardens and other do-it-yourself stores.
In Austria, public gatherings of more than five people remain banned and non-essential shops are shut despite the lockdown ending.
In Switzerland, on the other hand, hairdressers, florists, and garden centres have been given the green light but restaurants and bars remain shut.
This change will be difficult, different but it will ensure that we don’t risk a rise in infections all over again. Italy, which was the first to begin a lockdown in Europe has resumed the functioning of factories, construction sites and wholesale supply businesses.
In Portugal, hairdressers have been allowed to reopen along with small shops, bookstores and car dealerships. However, larger stores and malls will have to wait for now. Restaurants have also begun serving but only to 50% of its capacity and masks have become mandatory for public spaces.
Germany has opened small shops, hardware stores, hairdressers and car dealerships post the lockdown and has even allowed few schools to reopen.
We are far away from normal as it is important to remember that we do not have a vaccine yet, and until we don’t we are still at the risk of getting infected or infecting others.
This slow removal of restrictions around the world shows that when we do decide to go out and resume our routines, we will be required to keep in mind the responsibility we have. We will need to sanitise, avoid physical contact and anything else that might directly put someone at risk.