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Laboratories of the new normal: this is life in cities without restrictions due to covid

2021-06-24T16:37:54.565Z

The de-escalation continues in Spain with the elimination of wearing a mask in outdoor spaces, a measure that has already been taken in Denmark, Israel or most of the US states



Spain removes the mask in outdoor spaces on June 26.

It has been more than a month since the state of alarm ended and movement between autonomous communities is allowed.

And the prohibition of opening bars and other non-essential businesses or house confinements remain increasingly distant bad memories.

The high rate of vaccination (47.8% of the population had received at least one dose this Friday) allows the restrictions to be eliminated little by little with normality on the horizon, a destination that others have reached (or almost did) countries.

Denmark, Israel and most of the United States are among them.

This is the day to day in its most populated cities.

Copenhagen: sunrise without a mask

It's a few minutes to nine in the morning and there is already a queue at the covid testing center in Frue Plads 2, a pedestrianized square in the historic center of Copenhagen. At that time you have to wait about 10 minutes for an antigen test. It is free, without a prescription, without an appointment and even a foreigner who passes by can get one even if he or she does not reside in the country. "Yes, yes, surely you don't have to pay and you don't need a passport, just a mobile phone to receive the result," reports an employee of the Danish Health Authority. Three university students talk outside the white tent where the tests are carried out. “We come once or twice a week for prevention,” says one of them, Karen Lind Jensen, 20, a teacher student. "We really wanted to see the class people, to return to normality," he says.

Denmark began to reopen between March and April educational centers, museums, non-essential shops and leisure and restaurant establishments, closed since December to deal with the second wave. The opening has accelerated in June thanks to the massive realization of tests, both PCR and antigens in 672 centers of the country, which together with vaccination have helped to avoid a third wave. “In one day, 300,000 tests have been carried out in a population of almost six million; the normal thing is that a citizen takes tests twice a week ”, explains by telephone Soren Riis Paludan, professor of the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Aarhus. Denmark is one of the countries least affected by covid in Europe, with 290,000 infections and 2,500 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

In front of the Arnold Busck bookstore on Kobmagergade street, people walk without a mask after ten in the morning, which is not a great novelty in Denmark, since as in the rest of Nordics, it has never been mandatory outdoors.

But what is new is that from this week you should not take it inside the establishment, or in any store, or shopping center.

"After using it for so long, you put your hand to your mouth every now and then, thinking you're doing something wrong," says Monica Hansom, a bookstore clerk.

Their four children do not wear masks at school either, but "they do a test every Monday" at school.

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  • Open vaccination to all ages?

    Only if you slow down the punctures

  • Sánchez announces that masks will no longer be mandatory on June 26 outdoors

The staggered return to face-to-face work is detected in some streets due to the greater number of bicycles parked in front of the offices.

Sidsel Bregnhoi Hyldig is an IP expert at Flying Tiger, the Danish home accessories and gifts firm, visiting the company's headquarters a few days a week.

“We started coming in March, but only voluntarily and for a few hours;

I missed the team, the environment and the culture that are shared, ”he says.

Starting in mid-June, private companies can let their employees spend up to 50% of the day in the office, and it is expected to reach 100% in August.

Of course, nobody wears a mask.

To verify that, except in specific cases, the masks are not used, it is enough to take a walk at the end of the morning through the Frederiksberg shopping center, in a residential neighborhood. Hydroalcoholic gel is offered at the entrance and it is recommended to keep your distance, but nothing to cover your mouth. "It is better that you come to buy alone", is recommended on a poster.

In the subway, you can quickly see the first exception to the rule of no more masks: you do have to use them in public transport (they are not mandatory, however, when you are seated). The second exception is found in restaurants: it is impossible to eat inside without showing the Coronapas, a safe-conduct that is carried on the mobile phone and certifies that its carrier has been vaccinated, has tested negative in the last 72 hours or has passed illness in the past six months. This tool was used until recently in other places, such as gyms and hairdressers, but little by little it is going to be phased out.

The pass, or an equivalent document, was necessary to enter the Parken Stadion on Thursday and attend the match that faced Denmark and Belgium in a Eurocup pending since last year due to the covid.

Around 25,000 people were present.

Certainly an unmistakable sign of a new normal.

The fans of Denmark during the Eurocup match against Belgium this Thursday.Wolfgang Rattay / POOL / EFE

Jerusalem: eve of 'sabbat' with open face

Friday afternoon in Jerusalem has returned to the way it was before the pandemic and everyone is looking at each other again, without mandatory masks since last Tuesday both outdoors and indoors.

Life accelerates in an apparent fast-motion before sunset arrives and the

Sabbath

begins

, the Jewish holy day that paralyzes daily activities.

More information

  • My life in a vaccinated country

Shortly after noon, customers leave laden with bags from the Mashbir department store in Zion Square, the commercial heart of the city.

A middle-aged woman who prefers not to identify herself is the only one still wearing the mask.

"It's a precaution, you know?", He justifies himself on the run.

At the nearby Jaffa Central tram stop, Maya Sholokov, a 23-year-old psychology student, waits dressed in a pink tutu and a pink bikini top.

“I come from the March of the Whores,” she explains while an ultra-Orthodox young man, also without a mask, looks at her sidelong as they board the convoy.

Hundreds of women have just demonstrated against the culture of sexist violence towards women that judges and condemns them for their way of dressing, in a global protest movement for a decade.

Women users of the Jerusalem tram last Friday.JCS

About 60% of the 9.3 million Israelis are vaccinated with the full Pfizer-BioNTech regimen and another 10% have overcome covid-19 and are also immunized. The Israeli Ministry of Health has recently started vaccinating those under 16 years of age, the remaining 30% of the population, in the 12-15 age bracket. Barely new infections have been registered for more than two months.

The tram continues its journey with all the travelers in the open to the traditional Mahane Yehuda market. The religious rush to make the last purchases before the

Sabbath

and the laity drink the first beers of the weekend in the bars that line the covered metal structure. Some of the few newcomers - only a few small groups of tourists have been admitted, still as a pilot experience - still wear the mask. “Actually, there were few of us who covered ourselves before, this is almost like an open space, heh, heh,” confesses Moshe Levy, 58, who has been selling fruit for three decades at the Mahane Yehuda and is now surrounded by food and drink stalls. “If they put me a good check on the counter, I'll also get out,” he acknowledges.

The central aisle of the market is a human river.

Health authorities recommend maintaining physical separation as much as possible and avoiding personal contact, with gestures such as shaking hands.

This is how he greets his customers while cleaning a salmon fillet and flashes a frank smile. Nir Zerav, 31, in charge of the David fish shop.

"Since the obligation of the mask was lifted two months ago, infections have decreased until almost disappearing," says this fan of naturopathic remedies.

"We are convinced that we have overcome the pandemic," he says as he prepares to close his premises, before the wail of the anti-aircraft alarm siren marks the start of the

Sabbath

.

Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, Friday afternoon, June 18, 2021.JCS

Since two weeks ago

, the

green pass

, the digital vaccination certificate that has served as a safe-conduct for restaurants and leisure or sports spaces,

is no longer necessary

. Now they are accessible to everyone and without the need to cover your mouth. On Tuesday, when the latest general restrictions due to the pandemic were lifted, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases was zero, amid the general opinion that Israel has reached a stage equivalent to herd immunity.

On Thursday there was a slight rebound, below ten cases, all mild. "It was to be expected," a doctor at the Hadassah hospital in Ein Keren, outside Jerusalem, admitted that same day. Along with residences for the elderly, health centers are still the only closed places where the use of a mask is still required.

It is a freedom that for now only Israelis enjoy.

The country continues to be closed tight for non-residents, with a few exceptions that require travelers to undergo a quarantine of up to 14 days and pass a battery of successive PCR tests.

Only as of July will Israel consider opening the door to vaccinated visitors who have passed a serological test to confirm the presence of antibodies.

Until further notice, airplanes will have to continue traveling with their mouths covered.

New York: the wakefulness of the city that never sleeps

The new normal in the nightlife of New York, that city that supposedly never sleeps, was a fait accompli before the governor of the State, Andrew Cuomo, announced this week the end of the last restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus thanks to the advance vaccination (70% of adults have received at least one dose). On May 19, the penultimate sectors had reopened; Two days earlier the subway had done it 24 hours a day, after months of curfew at dawn for cleaning and disinfection work. Good weather and daylight hours accompany the reactivation and the terraces of bars and restaurants are overflowing any day of the week. The restaurant sector makes cash.

But the damage that a year of pandemic has caused in nightlife is of such a caliber that some venues do not plan to reopen until September. This is the case of the Electronic Room, an electronic music room in the Meatpacking district. “In these two blocks there are five venues, between clubs and discos. Only Electronic Room will reopen, the rest have closed ”, explains Samantha Wam, public relations of the hotel in whose basement the room is located. Wam, wearing a mask, serves customers who have reserved a table for dinner on the building's exclusive terrace. All, without exception, wear face masks and use sanitary gel. "It is the power of the businesses to maintain the security measures they deem appropriate, and we have opted for prudence," he adds. "Obviously, when they get to the terrace they can take it off,but not in the common areas or in the elevators ”.

Several people without masks on June 15 at Central Library in New York.Mary Altaffer / AP

Nightclubs that before the pandemic opened at five in the afternoon every day of the week, today they only open on weekends, so that the usual nightlife of the city is still subdued in areas previously famous for their effervescence.

Broadway is the paradigmatic case, with its theaters and area of ​​influence ―pubs, clubs or discos―, closed until September.

A walk down Broadway this Thursday night would take back images of the city in suspense of the pandemic.

Compared to the emergence of other areas, Broadway seemed like a still photo.

At the door of Zona de Cuba, this Thursday, even the doorman is protected with a mask. The huge entertainment venue located in the Bronx neighborhood registers a large influx before midnight, in part due to the claim of its terrace with live music. Most of the clients wear a mask, “it is still required in passageways and reserved areas; not so outdoors, of course ”, explains the employee. Norma and Perlina wait with their husbands, all of them muffled, to confirm their reservation. "I do not take it off even if the authorities allow it, it is a matter of prudence," explains Norma, who assures that she does not know Governor Cuomo's announcement. “Doesn't that sound a bit reckless to you? Maybe too soon? ”, Her friend Perlina interrupts her. And is dancing salsa with a mask an option? "We have reserved on the terrace, next to the track," jokes Norma.

In the dozen entertainment venues visited this Wednesday and Thursday, only one Upper West Side cocktail bar showed a semblance of old-fashioned normality ... except for the workers' masks. A hundred people were concentrated inside the place - like many others in New York, with the windows completely down - and about 50 more on the terrace. No customer covered their mouths, but the dozen employees did. “If the governor says the restrictions are over, who are we to contradict him? We can't keep limiting ourselves out of fear, we have to live again, ”says Ronney, who enjoys

happy hour

with a large group of friends. Aren't you afraid of this promiscuity, indoors? "We are young, and the night is even more so."

Source: elparis

All life articles on 2021-06-24

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