Monday, 1 June 2020

The personal responsibility of the mayor

Social distancing is the holy grail of the Dutch coronavirus policy. Everywhere you are reminded to keep 1.5 meters distance.
Nice nurses tell me in adverts that just clapping for healthcare workers is not enough. They tell me I have to follow the rules of social distancing as well.

On June 1 the "intelligent lockdown" in the Netherlands was lifted. It was time to get the country back on its feet, but, the government told us, do not forget the "new normal".
What is that you ask?
Surely you have guessed what it is: social distancing.

Shops, pubs, restaurants, museums, cinemas, you name it, they have spent small or large fortunes on preparing their premises for the new normal.
For them it is not only social distancing, they are also only allowed a maximum number of customers or visitors at the same time.
If organizations do not comply with the rules they face steep fines.

How are they going to survive with more outlay to comply with the new normal and less income from customers and visitors?
Museums are projecting a 90% reduction in visitors this year.
How are they going to make ends meet? There will be layoffs but who will be fired and when?
Yes, unsure times for a lot of people I know.

Still most people accept the situation as necessary and there are no exceptions. Even the prime minister did not visit his dying mother who was in lockdown.

But then, the prime minister is not from a left-wing political party.
The mayor of Amsterdam is and she makes exceptions.
On June 1 some 5,000 people demonstrated on Dam Square against police violence in the US. Supporters from her Green-Left party and other similar parties.
It is not a big square and there was no social distancing. Demonstrations of that size are forbidden.
But she allowed it to take place because it was "too important" to stop. She also said it was the personal responsibility of the demonstrators.

The demonstration with all the chants and no social distancing was a conducive environment for spreading the coronavirus.
After the demonstration the demonstrators went on their way. There is no tracking and tracing in the Netherlands.

Infected demonstrators will infect other people who had nothing to do with the demonstration. Some will become ill and some will die. No, that is not the personal responsibility of the victims.
That is the personal responsibility of the mayor.