The beginning to another week and the children are playing outside as they have for weeks which tells me I am going to have another sunny day but still in search of something to do to pass the time.
This is week nine of my life without work, which is playing Music and Entertaining in some of the finer Restaurants here in N. Switzerland.
To the Authorities it seems that they think that the playing of Music , Entertaining and Shows should be at the bottom of the list of things that should be restarted after the shutdown and unfortunately they are so very wrong in my opinion. I spoke to the someone in the relevant department here in Bern in the “Bundesrat” who happened to have a foreign accent — as many of the Government Employees do — and thankfully this chap was Irish and had a sense of humour, but no answers that would help my cause to start performing in public at least until June the 9th.
As far as the Government is concerned, in this very conservative Country, they think that music makes people drink more, stay longer and quite possibly cause the establishment to lose business … I could only laugh and suggest that music makes cows (and there are plenty here) and humans happier when they are digesting food.
Considering we have been “semi” locked down, with no real restrictions of movement except to neighbouring countries and for a short time, over to the badly infected affected Italian part of Switzerland in Tecino, I suggested that the best thing to do would be to cheer people up and let them have some fun singing, dancing and carrying on giving them a pat on the back for having been so cooperative in a difficult time with an unsure ending.
The Government rep said he was sympathetic to my plea, understood my point completely but playing a piano in a corner with a facemask was still classified under ‘Entertainment’ whether I liked it or not.. I suggested that he put it in his ‘Suggestion Box’ that the next time we have a ‘FAKE PANDEMIC’ they could have a few more ‘sub categories’ so as not to put Piano playing in the same boat as Pole Dancing, Strippers, Magic Acts, Heavy Metal Concerts and Opera Singers with a Full Orchestra and Staging.
The Shops were all open as of the 15th of May and after going to the largest Shopping Mall the other day I must say that the nature of Swiss people is rather subdued and conservative at best, so ‘Social Distancing’ wasn’t a problem, even with plenty of people in the buildings; the only marked difference was the ‘plastic shields’ at the checkouts and the masks worn by the staff.
The numbers of people are staggering considering the death threat from the supposed ‘Deadly Flu’ but I must say I didn’t see a lot of ‘elderly’ people; it seems we are back to normal.
Saturday Night Fever was alive and well in downtown Zurich, Baden etc this weekend and except for Basel where there are a large number of university students not respecting the distancing suggestions everything was full speed ahead with restaurants extending terraces as per law allowing just as many people into their establishments with only more distance between tables.
There was no sign of any adverse effect brought on by the two month break: A few very small kiosks and restaurants were infact closed but minimal in number.
Weekend getaways have been the order of the day for myself and my girlfriend and yesterday was no exception, with a trip to ‘Engelberg’ which is probably the closest Ski Resort to Luzern as you can get to the Alps and I must say that there were plenty of people about and it being in-between seasons, rather busy with many shops open. A bright sunny day brought out the ‘WanderWeg’ types roaming around the hills and walkways, it would appear there doesn’t seem to be any change of lifestyle whatsoever.
The biggest shock was stopping in Luzern on the way home and finding a jam packed downtown, Hotel Terraces full of people and traffic jams that are standard in a city like this so close to the Lake. Lucerne is usually full of tourists, both local and International in normal times, so the only difference I was informed about, was that there was a distinct lack of Chinese and American Tourists suggested by the Hotel Concierge where I perform in the summer months; he suggested they might not be back until next year.
So… all in all, life goes on with not much really changing here in Switzerland over the last two months or now that we are completely open again; I would say that there is probably more traffic which is unwelcome but necessary for the economy to work and with a lot of space between tables it is going to make it difficult for restaurants to survive.
Everybody I know here in Switzerland has been working straight through this pandemic either at home or if that’s not possible, in their respective offices. The Government admitted five weeks ago that the percentage of people dying under 65 was small and made it clear that if you had pre existing conditions you should stay home. I do believe most people did and except for a blip on the screen by young people at the lakeside a month ago on a sunny Sunday afternoon, when the police closed the area around the Lakehead in Zurich, I don’t believe anyone was really affected.
Going forward to June the borders with Germany, Austria and France are to open while the Italian border will open shortly after.
Unless you do business I don’t think many people were adversely affected, as people were allowed to cross all borders if work papers were presented, so since there are a lot of cross border workers here, I still had to be careful even driving by German Border Crossings as there were queues involved with people going back and forth.
I’m looking forward to a complete lifting of the restrictions in two weeks (June) when I do hope everyone gets back to other things in their lives because this has been one of the most annoying, uneventful, hyped situations i have ever encountered here in Switzerland and all over Europe.
Total cases in Switzerland to date: 30.618 Total Deaths: 1886 Population: 8.647.139
(The feelings expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect views held by Lets Eat Marbella or it’s writers or editors.)