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Masks and Free Bus Rides Amidst COVID-19 Vanier Alumni Voices 

Masks and Free Bus Rides Amidst COVID-19

It was not too long ago when COVID-19 (the short form for “Coronavirus Disease 2019”) hit Germany. The current coronavirus pandemic has caused many restrictions worldwide. Let us have a look at Germany. In end-March, restaurants were banned from hosting dine-in clients and were only allowed to serve take-away. Citizens had to wear a mask on public transport. Supermarkets and other grocery stores were still open for business, but shoppers had to wear a mask and keep at a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other when inside. Many supermarkets enforced the rule of a shopper’s cart must-have for each customer. Nevertheless, I was amused at discovering some fun facts about my neighbourhood because of COVID-19.


Masks as ornaments


Not everyone switches their masks after every single usage. When we do not, we are supposed to air it in a well-ventilated area. As mentioned above, masks are compulsory in supermarkets and other stores. Having a mask on in this warm weather is not particularly pleasant, so when a driver only wears it when he is in the store, immediately taking it off when he exits, what does he tend to do with his mask? Yes, he tends to hang it on the rear mirror, as if an ornament! Who would have thought that facial masks could be car ornaments?


Free bus rides 


If you have lived in Germany long enough, you will know that bus drivers may occasionally inspect its passengers to see if they have a valid ticket. Because of the pandemic, bus drivers are, in some way, quarantined from their passengers; the front area near the driver’s seat is blocked from the passengers. As you see, passengers are not inspected on buses, and tickets cannot be purchased through the driver upon hopping on the bus, as usually done; they are momentarily only available online or at ticket machines at train stations. However, mind you that there are still “surprise” inspections at train stations. So if you want to bet on a free ride, do so only on buses; you better have your ticket on the train!


The coronavirus pandemic has caused many inconveniences for us all. For example, these inconveniences include the suspension of schools, the uncomfortable wearing of facial masks, as well as the more frequent necessary (or unnecessary) washing of hands with soap and hygienic hand disinfection, which may result in dry hands, just to name a few. Some of us may also have lost loved ones who could not recover from COVID-19. Some others may have lost their job during the crisis and experienced trouble finding a new one. All in all, no one wants this pandemic to last. Let us wait patiently for it to end, whether before or after the invention of a vaccine.


By Yvonne Y. F. Kelle


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