Europe Starts 2021 in Lockdown

By: Charlotte Foulger — Correspondent

This year, Europe rang in the new year with a lockdown, mainly due to a more contagious new variant of Covid-19. The Netherlands, England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, Austria, Italy, and Poland (which was already in a lockdown) entered nationwide lockdown soon after New Year’s with different requirements to follow. 

“It was very disconcerting to start the new year in lockdown, especially because there wasn’t any physical transition back to school,” said Margot Wiest, a high school senior who lives in London and attends the American School in London.

The lockdown also had a variety of other effects, such as switching to online classes, which entails a myriad of changes to a student’s daily routine. “It also means I can’t go anywhere, or eat out, which is a bit of a bummer but isn’t that bad overall,” said Wiest. 

“I’ve definitely experienced more tiredness and a lack of motivation when it comes to schoolwork, and I miss being in school a lot,” she added. 

People in the UK are expected to stay home as much as possible. However, shopping for essential needs such as groceries is allowed. 

 “All major shops, aside from food-supplying ones, have been shut down,” said Wiest.  

“We are also allowed to meet with one other person who’s not in our household for outdoor walks, but you’re not allowed to mingle indoors with other households,” she added.

Transportation methods are still running just as they always would. Pharmacies, plant nurseries, as well as medical places like opticians, veterinary clinics, and dentist offices, are open as well. 

The UK has also instituted a closure for all schools. “All schools are expected to be closed until as late as March/April, and A-Levels have been canceled,” said Weist.

There are inevitable punishments for failure to follow the rules put in place. “You can be fined for breaking rules about household interactions, but it’s not actually monitored that closely,” said Weist. 

The celebration of holidays was altered drastically as well; however, residents know that the changes put in place are needed. 

It was necessary to flatten the curve and slow down the infection rate,” said Ingrid Polster, a Berlin resident. “So it’s ok to start the new year in a lockdown because we might have a better perspective to beat Covid-19 soon,” Polster added. 

Like Wiest, Polster can only meet with one person outside her house. She says her social life has been restricted to just a few close friends and few fun activities. “Most of the time we stay at home or go for a walk with a friend,” she said. 

Although it can be hard to handle all the restrictions, people are trying their best to understand. “I think about all the other people in the world who lost their jobs, which have no home, or poor healthcare,” said Polster. “When you think about all that, then it’s not so hard to follow the rules in a privileged first-world country,” she added. 

People all across Europe have gotten quite used to their lockdown lives. “I was quite disappointed when the pandemic first hit but just like everyone else I’ve got used to the fact that life has changed and have tried to adapt my daily life around the work from home routine,” said Zain Chandan, a London resident.

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