November is the month of silence, seasonally and because of the commemorative calendar. All Saints Day, National Day of Mourning, Day of Repentance and Prayer, Sunday of the Dead, these are the path markers that accompany us from childhood, regardless of whether we grew up in church-influenced parental homes or socialized in a secular environment.
None of this has ever played a role in bars, hotels, restaurants, sports facilities. Until now, anyone who wanted to do so could escape the atmosphere of memory and mourning by refusing to participate. This will not work for the first time in 2020. The restrictions on public life that the federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday are drastic. For gastronomy, but also for cultural institutions, sports centers and tourism, they can again threaten the survival of the company.
They can only be justified in the hope that this far-reaching attitude towards social interaction will in this way reduce the number of new infections every day. In the hope that in the Christmas month daily life can very carefully return to life, especially the families can visit each other.
Christmas without grandchildren?
Christmas without children and grandchildren is a pain that is difficult for the elderly to bear. Meeting and cuddling grandparents is a great need for five-year-olds. However, for these grandparents themselves, it is linked to the idea that every Christmas together could have been the last.
This is all the more true when these people live alone or are sick, both in a retirement home and in their own four walls. Politicians do not want and must not expose those affected to the mental pain of the first closure of the old people’s homes in the spring with their heartbreaking situations. Many of those affected felt what happened there as death in installments.
Everyone also learned from the experience of the first lockdown that it was wrong to close schools and daycare centers. It was a bad time, especially for small children from difficult backgrounds, with consequences for their development that could take years. Young adults can also become lonely and desperate.
Many of them are still untied. If every meeting outside of a committed relationship is avoided because more than two people get together for a private party, the state cannot count on much understanding from those affected.
How Much Trust Do Democracies Need?
Isn’t it better to allow encounters in understandable circumstances than to prevent all social life – and this in the knowledge that prohibitions are undermined wherever a lack of state control makes it possible? How far, how far should the government of a democratic country rely on and be able to trust that empowered citizens have sufficient insight to recognize what behavior is acceptable?
To record which actions no longer entail risks for the general public? Does not the basic principle of constitutional lawyer Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde also apply here, that the free constitutional state lives on conditions that it cannot create itself?
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On the other hand, some fellow citizens do not seem to have sufficient reason to seize undeniable risks. Yes, almost everyone knows people who readily respond to all the blame or know anyone who has Covid-19 at all – assuming infection rates have been so low so far that there actually isn’t a pandemic at all.
In Northern Italy, the question is often more, “How many of your acquaintances who had Corona survived?”