I tried not to think too much about the current life situation, but at some point, there’s no way to avoid it. Let’s talk about how’s life like living in lockdown in Romania.
I live in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. Since the first week of March 2020, the government issued safety measures and recommendations regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Every week, the regulations got more strict to the point that I can’t leave my home without a paper (that I have to write) containing my name, my home address, where am I going and why. Plus the date and signature.
To reinforce this regulation, the fine for not having such a paper in your pocket is over 450 Eur. I have to mention that the average salary in Romania is the same, after taxes.
So where does this leave us?
The regulation states clear conditions for leaving the house, such as grocery and medicine shopping, medical emergencies, helping someone else (such as an elderly person), walking your dog around your home and going to work if you can’t work from home. These are most of the points mentioned on that paper that you can tick when leaving your home. Not having such a document or not respecting the regulation can result in getting a fine.
From what I’ve heard, the Romanian policemen had fined more people than the number of COVID-29 infected people. An interesting statistic that can lead to some conclusion, but I’ll leave that to you to conclude.
The reality is not as gloomy (as it seems)
I walk my dog four times a day, and went to the closest supermarket in the neighbourhood a bunch of times and never have I been stopped by a policeman or by the army.
Oh yes, the state of emergency that we are in, gives more power to the army and it isn’t uncommon to see army trucks on the streets of Bucharest. They play the role of law enforcement officers, I guess.
Last night, I was walking my dog on the main boulevard, near the supermarket that I usually go to. It’s usually a busy area, with lots of apartment and business buildings. There’s a tram stop, a bus stop, and lots of small shops, restaurants and people walking around. But not last night. It was all so quiet. It was nobody on the street, all the shops were closed and no cars passing by. It was creepy.
But this is all that can be seen and observe. The real enemy is still, invisible. The scarcity of facial masks overcomes the one of gold. The same is valid for hand sanitizer and medicinal alcohol. All of a sudden, everyone has become obsessed with cleanliness.
So here I am, stuck at home (in the centre of Bucharest, but feeling like I live on Mars), with an empty fridge (and refusing to buy anything for the local supermarket because they have gone crazy with the prices).
Tomorrow, I might need to get up early, fill out one of those papers and head to a bigger (and cheaper) supermarket. I hope nobody will stop me. And if they do, I hope they won’t ask to check my driver’s licence (because it’s expired). And if I do make it safely to the supermarket, I hope I don’t have to wait one hour in a queue, before I am allowed to enter the supermarket and spend my money on food. It would be truly ironic to catch a cold while waiting in line while practising social distancing to avoid catching the infamous coronavirus.