There are a few caveats I need to make before I share all these points – I’m an expat. So is my partner. Dutch is not our first language. We don’t have any inside information except that we LIVE HERE.
Some of these points are media based. Some are via via. Some are personal. Take everything with a grain of salt. Or some other idiom.
We have three kids, one school aged and two in full time daycare. I work for an American based company while my partner works for the local university which is considered a government entity.
Big breath in.
Big breath out.
Let’s do this, eh?
1. The government met this afternoon and decided to close schools, daycares, and a ton of other public spaces as of tomorrow until 06 April.
2. Daycares ARE available for EMERGENCY CARE – these are for children who have parents who BOTH work in the “vital sectors”.
3. Vital sectors those professions and sectors defined by The National Coordinator for Terrorism Coordinator (NCTV) as healthcare, public transport, police, fire fighters, and childcare workers.
4. A ton of other public spaces include cafes, restaurants, sex clubs, cannabis cafes (also known as coffee shops), saunas and sports clubs as of today at six p.m. This was announced at three this afternoon – can you imagine the rush on the coffee shops?!?
5. The Dutch aren’t officially restricting air travel but KLM is – flights to / from China have been restricted for a while ago cause #DUH but also there are no more flights to / from Italy, India, Kuwait, Bahrain, Singapore, and South Korea.
6. The Dutch aren’t officially restricting air travel. YET.
7. The twenty people who have died here in the Netherlands are aged 59 to 94 and MOST had underlying health problems.
8. There’s plenty of toilet paper.
9. And food.
10. Grocery stores are even emailing everyone saying, yes, we have food and everything else. Stop hoarding. If the shelves are empty now, they’ll be restocked shortly – the distribution centers are fully stocked. #CHILL
11. Hand sanitizer and face masks are available online but ludicrously expensive for the general public.
12. Testing for the Coronavirus is restricted to those with serious complaints. You got a mild cough and a low fever? Take two paracetamol and call back when it’s worse.
13. The prime minister will make a televised address to the nation on Monday night at 1900 local.
14. A lot of the headlines say we’re on lockdown. A friend pointed out that we’re only on semi-lockdown. She’s right. There’s no curfew. We’re still allowed to go outside, go to the grocery store, play at the park.
15. Speaking of, we went to the local park TWICE today. And we’ll probably go a lot more because when take wipes with us and when we get home, everything’s wiped down and kids are thrown in the tub.
16. I have no idea what we’re doing for the next three weeks and I’m trying not to think about it too much. Except, maybe that’s not the right direction for my brain. I was freaking the fuck out until I wrote down the details of how much my life was changing without my social routines.
17. If you’re a Groningen Mama like me and totally freaking out about all this, I highly recommend the facebook group – there’s been a ton of recommendations for entertaining children in your house. I’m totally not panic’ing at all. Totally calm. This is fine. This is totally just fine.
18. There is an absolute outpouring of community support of people offering food, toilet paper, errands, and anything else that needs to happen. It’s really beautiful.
19. Researchers from the University of Utrecht and the Erasmus medical centre have developed a COVID-19 human antibody. Don’t get your hopes up, but it’s pretty fucking awesome. The research is currently in peer review before it’ll be published in Nature.