As the coronavirus lockdown continues to keep a stranglehold on our ways of life, many people are becoming increasingly impatient and upset at the state of affairs. Across America, several protests have proven that people can only stomach so much control before it gets to be considered excessive. Some are even clamoring for less affected states to come out of shutdown entirely.
That being said, largely these protests make one point clear regardless of your stance on the continuing kibosh on regular life – that in many cases the government has gone above and beyond normal and reasonable measures in the name of safety. Quite right too, as perfectly normal activities done in private and isolation from the rest of mankind now somehow elicit a stern government response.
Here are several activities that, even if you are alone, you can’t do during the COVID-19 Shutdown.
In nature, man can really cut loose and become one with the Earth. Or at the very least have an enjoyable way to pass time experiencing the same way of life as our ancestors and people that like hiking. However, in many states and countries, you might find yourself unable to engage in this activity as old as mankind itself. While admittedly, most state and national parks still remain accessible and open, there are still several places where both public and private facilities can and must remain closed for an extended period of time. Telling someone to go live in the woods is an oft-used way of elaborating a point that you can’t live away from other human beings, and now it seems as though other human beings insist that we not even try at a time when we should.
A major point in the repertoire of arguments made against the government shutdown is that the ability to really immerse yourself in nature by partaking in the circle of life is under siege. Hunting and fishing is being met with stern “no’s”. These are options which quite literally place people far from society and each other on top of providing an opportunity to collect life sustaining goods. Given the fact that currently you can’t always get the food you want from the store, along with the potential impending meat shortage , there is no better time and few better reasons to let people hunt and fish. Even my own home state of Illinois has cancelled the season, with no room for refund (or for fun).
#3: Driving Your Car
Imagine this. You’re spending your Sunday evening driving your personal motor vehicle, minding your own business and not interacting face to face with anyone, only for a police officer (who has talked to several people throughout the day) to come right up to you and issue you a ticket for being in public around other people.
This would seem like a paradoxical scenario of unnecessary interaction, a slippery slope to the ridiculous pit of government oversight. And yet, this has actually happened. Not just at home in the states either. In the United Kingdom, even couples mingling in their own cars can receive needless intervention and fines for daring to…be outside in a small space isolated from everyone else. Among the many times the state’s gotten in the way of life during the pandemic, this definitely takes the cake for the most detrimental to the supposed goal of protecting public health.
At first the idea of swimming during this lockdown seems like a risk, especially since if everyone got involved, the local public pool would be a Petri dish. Even privately, these isolated bodies of water can be understandably limited from general access, like the woman who lost it and swam in the hotel pool in Spain. But the controls placed on us is not limited to this. In Australia, one man was arrested for attempting to swim in a deserted large public body of water. The man, a former Soviet Union citizen, was understandably taken aback that a liberal democracy would send the police after someone for going too close to the ocean. As with all things, nuance is key in this pandemic, since one person swimming in a large body of saltwater poses almost no threat to public health.
Yup, even the most basic act of human locomotion is being strictly regulated across the globe as various countries ban even the most cursory of outdoor cardiovascular exercise. Never mind that people jogging are people not talking, or imbibing, or otherwise attempting to be social. Frankly, is there any type of person more likely to be avoided by car or pedestrian than a jogger with a purpose? As Paris bans outdoor exercise, this only continues to show that the “safety” extends beyond keeping us from each other to keeping us indoors, which is well beyond the reasonable call to action. Even walking pets has become a matter of contention, with some places making exception for dogs as an excuse to get outside, although even one woman got arrested for walking her turtle– so who knows.
#6: Leaving Your Home
This is not an issue in any major nation save one. As we’ve known for weeks, now, the Chinese government has barred people from physically leaving their homes in an attempt to strictly enforce quarantine measures. There exist a few examples of such flagrant violation of civil liberty in all this, and illuminates to the rest of the world the danger of what could happen if government is given too much power has to face a crisis like this. The price of that power is the expense of our most basic human rights. In lieu of concern, what contempt we breed will allow for movement towards a dangerous situation like this, which can start with something as simple as fining a fisherman.
The social outcry we face now may be uncomfortable and may continue to grow, but it will be important going forward as people realize they must retake control of their lives.
Image: Beach in Duval and St. Johns Counties, Florida by Clay Archer, Jacksonville Beach