Health

Lockdown rules baffle Europeans

Were in lockdown! But do people really know what that means and are the rules easy to understand (and break)?

One of the strictest quarantines in Europe is in Spain, where people can only leave home to buy food and medicines, walk the dog, go to the hospital or commute to work if absolutely necessary. Fines for infringement range from a very specific €601 to an eye-watering €30,000, and the police are not holding back in dishing them out.

Unlike most other European countries, physical exercise is banned in Spain, but what about exercising while commuting to work? The answer is no.

In the Basque Country, police threatened to fine a man for cycling to the factory where he works, on the basis that exercise is forbidden and therefore he should take public transport. The governments emergency decree says cycling is allowed only in case of force majeure, but it doesnt make clear what that would entail.

The cyclist would have been in even bigger trouble had he lived in Madrid, where Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida has said local police will have “zero tolerance” with those who say they are going to work but cannot produce a certificate signed by their employer to prove it.

María José, a nursing assistant in Madrid, was one of the unlucky ones. On Saturday, a police officer stopped her while she was on her way to deliver food to her elderly parents, and fined her for driving with her daughter in the car. She had complied with the rule that allows Spaniards to buy food as well as with the rule that requires them to always leave the house alone. But coming back from the supermarket she stopped to pick up her daughter — and paid the price.

“The police officer told me they were going to fine me because two people were not allowed to travel together at the front [of the car] and without a mask,” she told Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

You cant exercise in Spain, but you can take your dog for a walk. Dont try and take any other animals for a stroll, however, or youll be in trouble. Police have in recent days fined or warned people for walking a goat, a chicken and, er, a crab. Just to be clear, Catalan police have said the ban extends to canaries and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs.

Spaniards arent deterred. You can fine a human, so the thinking goes, but surely you cant fine a dinosaur! Sightings of dinosaurs (or, just maybe, people in dinosaur costumes) have been reported across the country throwing out the rubbish, roaming freeand being stopped by the police.

Its not just in Spain that lockdown rules can be a problem. In Brussels, POLITICO Reporter Melissa Heikkilä had the most expensive croissant of her life when she was fined for stopping on a walk to eat one. Walks are “encouraged,” she was told, but you are not allowed to stop. The size of the fine? Between €250 and €500.

In the Netherlands, which is considered to have taken a more lax approach to the crisis than most, you can still celebrate your birthday with your three best friends, provided you keep enough distance when blowing out the candles. What if your house is too small to keep enough distance? Then you will have to cancel your party, according to Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus. “When we all get through this, we can give heaps of parties,” he said.

Staying in the Netherlands, a Dutch man who deliberately coughed in two police officers faces and shouted that he wanted to infect them with the corRead More – Source