Tuesday, May 12, 2020

I got a Haircut

COVID-19 continues to turn things upside down.  In March, the European Union collectively banned non-essential travel coming in to the EU from the rest of the world.  Similarly in March the USA also implemented a travel ban on all non-American citizens, or permanent residents, who have been in the Schengen area within 14 days of arriving in the U.S.  

The U.S. ban doesn't make the most sense because it doesn't ban travel from Europe but only from the Schengen countries.  Banning flights from Europe would have made sense but apparently the USA thinks that Schengen equals all of Europe.  Or that the virus somehow respects international borders and that it doesn't spread to non-Schengen countries.

There are repatriation flights to both the EU and the USA which enable citizens to return home.  Legally I am able to return to the U.S., because I'm a citizen.  That is if I wanted to return.  (A)  Czechland is home so this is where I'm staying and (B)  it's tough to even find an available flight.

There are only 13 airports in the USA that allow flights in for American citizens who have been in Schengen countries, China or Iran.  The airports are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago's O'Hare airport, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York's JFK airport, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, and Washington Dulles.

I was supposed to fly to the USA at the end of May to visit my family.  My niece is graduating high school in California and I had promised her years ago that I would be there.  The plan was to fly in to Phoenix, Arizona to see my parents.  Then we would make the seven hour drive to my sister's home in Irvine.  Due to the pandemic and travel bans, my British Airways flight to Phoenix was cancelled.  So was my niece's graduation ceremony. 

At the end of April, the Czech government prolonged the state of emergency until 17 May.  However, the current restrictions have started to ease up a bit.

On 20 April, farmers' markets, car dealerships, and outdoor training for professional athletes were allowed.  Plus weddings with up to 10 people.

On 27 April, businesses could open up if they were under 2500 m² (27,000 square feet) as long as they are not in shopping malls over 5000 m².  Driving schools and libraries could open.  Gyms could open but the locker rooms and shower facilities had to remain closed.  Church services could resume for up to 15 people.  Even with things open, masks are still required.

As of yesterday, shops over 2500 m² could open up again.  Restaurants were allowed to open up outside dining.  Museums and galleries could open again.  Theatres, cinemas and circuses are allowed up to 100 people.  Classes of up to 15 students are permitted for high school students getting ready for their maturita exam.  And most importantly hairdressers could open again.

My hair grows pretty quick so Lukáš has been cutting my hair every two weeks for over 10 years.  I was due for a haircut when the restrictions hit so I was starting to look like a shaggy dog.  Fortunately that's over and I got a haircut this morning.  I had to wear a mask.  Lukáš had to wear a gloves, a mask, and a plastic face shied. 

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