That is why our government has set aside 1.5 trillion Euros for small and medium businesses (for the USA, that would be an equivalent fund of 7,5 trillion Dollars, going by the population size), to help get them through the months of shutdown. Some businesses are being allowed to open up starting next week (clothes stores, hardware stores), but others won’t be able to open up for at least another month (electronics stores, for example and stores with over 800M²). Restaurants and bars are looking at July or August, before they will be allowed to re-open - if the slow re-opening doesn’t cause a new wave of infections.
But the general plan is, to support small businesses, for example, by paying their employees for them and providing covering other costs. They want to keep the businesses going, as much as possible, because it is pointless giving the individuals money during the crisis, if the businesses where they used to work go bust over the months of shutdown and they are all unemployed when this thing is over in mid-2021 or early 2022.
I think one of the biggest differences, and one of the biggest problems for the USA, is the leaders.
Here, our Chancellor is a scientist and she knows she doesn’t know enough about virology and she knows enough about people, that she doesn’t spout out complete nonsense. She sticks to the facts about what is required to slowly re-open the country and how best to protect the population.
She leaves briefings about vaccines and “miracle” cures to the scientific advisor. Who is the head of the equivalent of Johns Hopkins. Likewise the news stations have their virologists and epidemiologists on hand to discuss the current situation and how the research into cures is going and how long that will realistically take (at least 1 year, possibly 2).
The US President spouts out complete nonsense, then backtracks, then backtracks again and that is just judging his Twitter account and his press conferences. He doesn’t understand viruses, but every time the next snake oil salesman passes his door, that is the next best straw to cling to and he preaches it in his next press conference. He ignores his medical advisors, for the most part, and he hasn’t even chosen virologists or epidemiologists as his top advisors for this crisis.
The US news isn’t any better, they aren’t, from what I’ve seen, talking to experts, they are talking to doctors in totally unrelated fields - E.g. orthopedic surgeons. It is like having new malware on an iPhone and asking a COBOL programmer how best to deal with it!
Then there is the inter-party wrangling. All the main parties here have pulled together and have stopped sniping at one another and are pulling together to do what is best for the country in the crisis. The CDU (Merkel’s party) has postponed the election of a new leader for the elections next year, because it isn’t as important as saving the country. Likewise the coalition partners are working together.
The opposition parties are also not fighting against the plan. When a decision is made, they will say that, while they don’t agree with it totally, they do support it. They provide a unified front.
In the USA, the President is still taking pot-shots at the Democrats with complete made-up rubbish and they, in turn are firing back, looking like idiots, trying to debunk the crap coming out of the Whitehouse and adding their own to the mix. It is as if a bunch of pre-school children are running the country! There is no central plan, there is no looking to see what is best for the population, it is just what political hay can we make out of this mess to bolster our support and make the other side look like idiots. None of them seem to really care about the “little people”. It is little wonder that confusion reigns and people who have listened to the President spout complete, unsupported rubbish, think that the crisis is over and are taking to the streets.
Here, some people are tired of the lockdown and they were out enjoying the sun together on Friday, with much incredulity from the majority. But it is small groups and the news didn’t play it up into a big thing. In general, people are wearing there masks and keeping trips to stores etc. to a minimum.
People are worried about their jobs, small business owners are worried about their businesses. But they, in general, are more worried about losing loved ones or being a victim themselves. They are doing everything they can to stay sane. They make balcony concerts, they go out for exercise, they have balcony fitness programmes - one senior residence had an instructor turn up outside with a stereo, he played music and ran an aerobics programme and the residents came out onto their balconies to join in, where they could.
Friday’s for Future had a major protest in front of the Parliament building in Berlin yesterday. Over night a small group of protestors laid out thousands of placards on the ground in the park, in front of the building, but nobody came, instead they did an online protest with everybody staying at home.
That is how you do a sensible protest at the moment, you don’t go out in groups, putting people at risk!