Fireworks, a few masks … and a lot of traffic. Romanians mark first day post-lockdown

nquam-photo-bucuresti-covid19-stare-de-alerta-15-mai-2020-Octav Ganea
nquam-photo-bucuresti-covid19-stare-de-alerta-15-mai-2020 Octav Ganea

At midnight, fireworks went off around Bucharest as residents celebrated the end of two months of a state of emergency.

There were church services Friday morning to mark the end of the lockdown, but no worshipers in churches. Celebration of the Eucharist has been deferred as the Romanian Orthodox Church does not want to use plastic spoons for communion.

Traffic was brisk, busy even. People on the streets seemed carefree or even careless. Schools remained closed.

Many wore masks covering their noses and mouths in enclosed spaces as required under the new state of alert, but others didn’t. Nobody said anything.

People speculated how long it would be until there was a rise in coronavirus cases. Anticipating a general sense of relief, President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday urged for vigilance saying he’d declare a new state of emergency in the blink of an eye if cases shot up.

So Friday was the first day of the next stage of our corona lives.But as Iohannis said, the virus does as the virus does; it doesn’t care about legislation.

On Friday, there were 190 new COVD-19 cases, a relatively low daily number, taking the total to 16,437. Some 1,056 have died in Romania after catching the virus. Without the state of emergency, the numbers would gave been higher.

Friday was the new normal. It wasn’t even sunny after days of summer weather; it was almost as if the weather was telling people not to relax too soon.

The new normal means open parks, but as it’s not even sunny, that isn’t an inviting prospect except for joggers. Bars and restaurants remain closed for now, so no hitting the town for a slap-up meal, and no ‘suc’ or frappe and people watching on terraces yet, as well.

The economy has taken a hit from the two-month lockdown, so people probably don’t have cash to spare anyway.

Even though museums reopened Friday, there were no queues. The number of cyclists remained the same as under lockdown. Small malls may reopen, another sense of normalcy in 2020 Romania.

Enjoy the view, as there’s no easy way to leave the country. Flights to and from countries with high numbers of COVID-19 cases are suspended even after May 15. Those countries are: Austria, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, the US, Turkey, and Iran.

International bus transport to Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey has also been canceled until June 1, the National Committee for Emergency Situations said.

 Several border crossings will remain closed. All travelers to Romania will have to go into quarantine.

Many were probably relieved they didn’t have to fill out forms to go and get a loaf of bread, but there’s a new form if you plan to leave the county to visit folks in the country or go mountain walking.

You can still get fined for breaking the rules, but the legislation is clear on for what and how much. The old fines under lockdown came unstuck as they weren’t clearly defined.

Reflecting the change, mobile phone operators updated their message that appears on all mobile phones from #staiacasa to #staysafe.

People should work from home, according to the new recommendations, and where that’s not possible, there are new rules.

Institutions that work with the public must provide an area of 4 square meters for each person. People with a temperature of over 37.3 C won’t be allowed in.

Opticians and dry cleaners are allowed to reopen. Time to dry clean the winter coat you were wearing in March when the pandemic hit us, and order a new pair of spectacles to read that book you didn’t manage to during lockdown.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here