Police in the park? Officers on the beach? Cops guarding the forest?
May 1 is traditionally a big holiday for Romanians, an opportunity to head to the Black Sea with friends, to go out for a picnic with family, take a stroll in the woods with a sweetheart or pet, or pay respects at the grave of a family member.
This year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and a state of emergency imposed to stop the spread of the virus, all of these activities are banned.
Mindful that Romanians are weary of strict lockdown rules, Bucharest police issued a warning on Thursday on the eve of the public holiday, telling people to stay at home.
Thousands of extra officers will be put on patrols to make sure the restrictions on people’s movements are respected.
In Bucharest, access to the Baneasa forest, north of the capital, is restricted, and the city’s parks remain closed, police said.
Some 2,000 police officers will patrol Bucharest’s streets and the traffic police and gendarmes will keep public areas under surveillance to make sure there are no illicit picnics or barbecues.
Romanians are required to fill out forms explaining why they have left home which they are allowed to do for a handful of reasons, such as buying food, taking exercise or helping an elderly person. If they fail to comply, they can be fined between 2,000 and 20,000 lei, which is more than 4,000 euros.
“We are observing social distancing, avoiding crowded areas, and we are not going on shopping sprees these days,” police said in a statement.
“Follow the instructions displayed in stores and respect social distancing rules. Follow the going-out schedule and take care of your health…… Even if the weather looks good, this time, the barbecue is at home,” police said, quoted by Mediafax.
Police reminded people that access to cemeteries was only permitted for burials, where a maximum of eight people can attend. Many people visit relatives’ graves on special holidays.
“We will not tolerate deviations from the social cohabitation norms or breaches of the provisions of the military ordinances. We will show no understanding for those who do not respect the collective effort to reduce the number of Covid-19 infections, for people who do not want to understand that, this time, we will only celebrate at home, with the family,” police said in a statement.