Denmark reopening week 2 (lockdown week 7)

Hi everyone, I hope lockdown/reopening life is treating you well. The last week has been a tricky one, so I’m more than happy to welcome in May – the month of Sofia’s second birthday and getting my hair cut (it’s not in this photo’s condition!). And maybe, just maybe, a bit of childcare – if more space at the girls’ vuggestue and børnehave becomes available.

Here’s my latest update on life here in Denmark for The Local, which you can also read here.

Magstræde, Copenhagen

Cycling along Copenhagen’s colourful streets, especially during the warm days of last weekend, almost felt like life pre-lockdown. People were sauntering along the pavements, looking at the small businesses that had reopened, others were enjoying the sun with a barbecue in the park.

But then out came the fines. 2,500 kroner (€335, almost £300) for those who let their guard down and gathered in groups of more than ten. Hotspots were declared across 38 locations in the country to stop people from sitting in those popular places.

Two weeks into Denmark’s reopening after lockdown, there is a noticeable difference in social activity. But look a little closer and it’s not exactly business as usual.

There are more people wearing face masks, especially since they are now required by the professions that involve close customer contact.

There is no morning rush hour, despite all primary schools and day care institutions being open. Instead there are staggered drop offs and pick ups, many done by bike or foot as public transport is still very quiet. Some parks have become classrooms and many people are still working from home.

Those in schools, nurseries and kindergartens are getting used to their new routine of playing and learning in small groups, washing hands every two hours and spending much of the day outside.

A head teacher told me that teachers and pupils have settled well into the new way of life, creatively finding new ways to play and learn at a distance. But he said they were also doing video tours of the new school set up, to send to parents who were still very anxious about their children returning.

For the youngest children, many can’t go back to their nurseries or kindergartens because new floor space requirements mean there isn’t enough space for everyone. My children’s day care institution is still only accepting half the children back. They are waiting to see if guidelines for the second phase of reopening, due to start on May 10th, can change this.

So far Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has called the first stage of reopening a success, as the spread of infection remains under control. 

According to Denmark’s infectious diseases agency SSI, the infection rate of the coronavirus has increased from 0.6 to 0.9 – which is still under the crucial figure of 1 – preventing infections from escalating.

But it’s still very much a tightrope walk, and the second phase of reopening will be an even trickier balancing act.

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