Report from the town of Žďár nad Sázavou
How does a partial lockdown feel in a small Czech town? The government declared a state of emergency more than a week ago. There is a ban on travel, schools are closed as well as most shops and other public institutions. Vít Pohanka lives in the town of Žďár nad Sázavou and sent this report.
Now, about masks and ventilators. If there is a single problem that people around me see as a failure of, I dare say, colossal dimension, it is the lack of these items. I know this has been a subject of debate for some time already. Based on what I hear from people around me, it really undermines the trust people have in the ability of the government to act effectively in a situation like this. Be it as it may, I see people respecting the rule to cover their mouths and noses wherever they go, even if they have to improvise, use homemade masks or scarfs.
Trains are running, too. The government owned Czech Railways did cancel some express trains in other parts of the country. Obviously, they have been running virtually empty in the past few days. But when I checked our local station in Žďár I learned that all links to Prague and Brno are running as usual. This does matter: the town is on one of the two main lines between these two most populous cities in the country. And there is another line connecting the towns in the area such as Nové Město na Moravě and Bystřice nad Pernštejnem and surrounding villages. A lot of people are relying on trains to go to work and generally get around.
I spoke to several teachers and officials when I was recording a program about the unexpected massive exercise in e-learning that the closure of schools has brought about. It is a kind of a mixed picture. Some teachers especially in elementary schools have difficulties to reach their pupils, some of the pupils complain that they cannot open or work on the exercises their teachers send out for them to work on. I have a teenage son and daughter who attend our local “gymnázium”, secondary school or high school in American English. As far as I know, they are in contact with their teachers, have plenty to do and are working on their assignments for several hours each day.
So, life seems to be going on fairly normally, here in Žďár nad Sázavou. People I meet and see around me are coping as well as they can. If they have complaints and criticism, they seem to keep it to themselves. I suppose the biggest worry I have personally is that it will go on for too long and people will start losing patience with the situation.But right now, all seems well and calm.