The city of Amsterdam has been grossly affected by the lockdown. The ancient city relies on tourism to keep going. With the onset of the lockdown, the famous cannabis cafes were closed down, social areas were sealed off, the famous Red Light District closed and hefty fines charged on anyone that is found breaking these rules. This has made life very hard for people like me.
My name is Max Lang-Orsini and this is how life has hit foreigners like me since the onset of Covid19.
COVID-19 – Amsterdam
Unfortunately, there have been three Covid19 waves in the city. Every time we thought the city was opening up, we were forced back to quarantine. Artists and curio sellers like myself found ourselves in a catch 22 situation where there were no tourists to sell our artwork to and no locals willing to take some. While the government came up with a few measures to help us cope with the pandemic, much of the assistance was too little, too late.
For the better part of the year 2020, I have been struggling to make ends meet, while one wave after the other led us to sink even deeper into the financial crisis. At the start of the Covid19 pandemic, there was fear that spread across the city. All of a sudden, we all felt dirty and vulnerable.
As the numbers rose around the world, the few friends I knew also took a hit. Two weeks after the first case of coronavirus in the country, I lost a friend and two more were hospitalised.
Our jovial city was engulfed into tears and horror as new numbers of the dead were read each day. I once had the flu and tonsillitis and was shell shocked when I went for a test. Luckily, I did not have the virus. On the other hand, the new regulations from the ministry of health created a shift in how things run around the city.
People were suddenly afraid of each other. The social gatherings where we would joke, hug and play with friends went suddenly quiet.
I remember visiting the local supermarket and it was crazy how no two people could shop next to each other. You even felt hard to pick a product on the shelf where you had seen someone return the product. At some point, I also stopped visiting the supermarkets unless it was absolutely necessary.
However, something happened. After the end of the first wave, people became less afraid of the pandemic. They had to be reminded each day that the virus was still around and taking more lives.
It is only after the second wave hit the people came back to their senses that the virus was around. Besides, the police had very high fines that made anyone think of breaking the rules to think twice.
The dark cloud had a silver lining too. The huge number of tourists that visited the country each day halted to a stop. We could, at last, breathe some fresh air and walk along quiet streets. It seemed we were having our city back.
People are now lobbying the government to put restrictions to cut the number of visitors. We are still struggling to make ends meet but are positive that things will get better. Some restrictions are still in place but much of daily life has come back to the norm.