‘Social distancing’ open to interpretation it seems, as Europe haphazardly emerges from lockdown (VIDEOS)
The global pandemic has caused much suffering and sparked a new lexicon of buzzwords for everyone to endure. Chief among them is ‘social distancing’ – a term which, judging by footage online, is wildly open to interpretation.
Much of the British workforce returned to work on Wednesday, which led to some disturbing scenes as Tube lines and buses spilled over with people who seemingly couldn’t socially distance even if they wanted to.
@TfL@SadiqKhan@BorisJohnson you lot claim to care about the public I just watched and 86 bus at Stratford bus station pull in and not one person Is social distancing because there’s to many people on buses either put out more buses @ peak times or just go back to lockdown pic.twitter.com/eylN6q4TqV— ᒍᗩY_ᗷITᔕ_ Risky Roadz X BOTBOT x Grime Gran (@Jay_Bits_) May 13, 2020
Boris Johnson issued his “lockdown release” on May 10 but has been widely criticized ever since, with many complaining his roadmap contains little to no clarity or specific, actionable information.
Workers “should travel to work if their workplace is open,” but they “should continue to work from home… wherever possible.” Also, the working public “should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible,” according to the government guidelines.
With a populace suffering from collective cabin fever, it is unsurprising that many would relish the opportunity to stretch their legs on the daily commute. However, judging by eyewitness video shared on social media, all semblance of adhering to social distancing has evaporated.
@BTPLondon state of the hammersmith line no 2 meters distance disgusting pic.twitter.com/1YHRyFUTPz— Peter Raggett (@PeterRaggett3) May 11, 2020
Across London, some bus and underground lines were packed with people returning to work (though others lay fallow).
Mick Cash, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, warned that strike action may be necessary to protect both “workers and passengers.”
“If that's what needs to [happen] to keep people safe, then we will stop trains,” he said.Also on rt.com What’s in the UK government’s Covid-19 lockdown easing plan? Here are the main points
Meanwhile, Paris police had to disperse crowds of revelers along the Seine river, celebrating the end of the eight-week lockdown in France. For some, it appears the “joie de vivre” overcame their desire to stay alive by keeping away from each other.
Retour à la normale? #deconfinement#Paris#Montmartrepic.twitter.com/F6AfOHYfO4— Francesca Ilaria Faiella (@franzypope) May 12, 2020
J’ai pas pu m’empêcher 😅 #Deconfinementpic.twitter.com/I9wytTNnnA— Pierre-Antoine Damecour (@padamecour) May 11, 2020
“[The prefect of police] deplores the fact that, on the first day of deconfinement [lifting of restrictions], we have had to take measures to prohibit the consumption of alcohol on the public highway," the Paris police department said in a press release.
Interdiction de la consommation d'alcool, respect des règles de distanciation sociale : les policiers de la @prefpolice sont notamment déployés aux abords des voies sur berge et du canal Saint-Martin.La réussite du déconfinement repose sur le comportement responsable de chacun. pic.twitter.com/l9ZQZfGavF— Préfecture de Police (@prefpolice) May 12, 2020
At the same time, in Spain, the erstwhile crisis point for the coronavirus in Europe alongside Italy, has experienced its own struggles with lifting lockdown measures and trying to keep people away from each other.
After an initial wave of indignation that people had the audacity to flood the nation’s parks and beaches, new footage has emerged online showing that social distancing is great in theory but not so good in practice.
Aquí, a pesar de NO respetarse la distancia de seguridad ni la capacidad máxima del AUTOBÚS, como NO hay BANDERAS DE ESPAÑA, no hace intervenir a la POLICÍA el Gobierno...👇 pic.twitter.com/DAB3CBbOSv— 🇪🇦 PODEMONGUERS 🇪🇦🖤 (@LagartoRojo1974) May 13, 2020
Still, leaders across Europe are pleading with their people to remain cautious and avoid creating a second wave which would force everyone back inside once again.
“It would be depressing if we have to return to restrictions that we want to leave behind us because we want too much too soon,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the German parliament on Wednesday.
Her statements came after repeated anti-lockdown clashes with police on the streets of Berlin in May. There were similar scenes in The Hague in the Netherlands, with authorities there also calling for people to respect social distancing norms.Also on rt.com WATCH: Police detain dozens protesting against coronavirus lockdown in The Hague
“I don't want to see crowding on mass transit or public transport in our capital or anywhere else,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Wednesday, echoing his German counterpart's call for calm and restraint amid the easing of restrictions.
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