May 18, 2020

Lisa Mitchell

There is rarely a fast-moving news event that is truly global and you’d think getting out of lockdown would look fairly similar across the world.

Think again.

I was pulling together videos showing “first steps out of lockdown” and it revealed nations are doing it in ways which, well, are so them.

The first thing sun-kissed Californians did when their “stay in place” order was lifted was to grab their surf boards and head to the re-opened beaches. Of course they did.

In sensible Finland, they got their kids back to school.

In Spain, the ramblas were again filled with busy tables as cafes reopened, while in neighbouring Italy, queues were round the block for beauty salons.

Parisiens, who during one of the strictest lockdowns had to explain themselves to gendarmes every time they left home, took to their bikes and running paths with gay abandon.

In football-mad Germany, the Budesliga restarted in empty stadiums to the delight of fans, not just in Germany.

In the UK, we opened garden centres. 

In trendy Seoul, there were huge queues outside Chanel ahead of expected price rises as the economic impact of the virus bites. 

In India, where a tough lockdown persists, the only easing has been the opening of liquor shops to non-socially-distanced near riots.

Haircuts have been a major preoccupation in many countries, and in New Zealand restrictions on barbers were among the first to be eased. Australia re-opened its coffee shops first. After their surfing beaches, naturally. 

International news organisations shared reports from Bangkok showing cat cafes and dog pampering salons opening. They’re very cute, but I’m willing to bet Thais also wanted restaurants and hairdressers to open too. 

Really, everyone affected by coronavirus is waiting for the big one, the true return to normal.

And that video will look exactly the same everywhere – when grandparents get to hug their grandchildren again. 


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