The contacts are to be reduced to a further, permanent household. This is the government's recommendation to contain the corona crisis. All well and good – but what if you're single?
Mask requirement, distance regulations, contact restrictions – so far I thought most of the rules to contain the Corona crisis were sensible. Much more than that: Instead of worrying, I often sat almost hopefully in front of the press conference, believing that stricter measures would finally get the increasing numbers of infections under control.
Until yesterday. When Angela Merkel appeared before the press this Monday evening with no new decisions, but with a stern look and recommendations, I caught myself frowning. That turned into a queasy gut feeling when I listened to the following sentence: "Private get-togethers with friends, relatives and acquaintances should be limited to a fixed – that is, always the same – household." Oops.
In principle, that sounds sensible. Why do I still feel disbelief, indignation and a spark of fear? Because I live alone.
Two households and the lockdown marriage: yes, I want to?
When everyone only has a steady household, one thinks of families and double dates that make it really cozy together. Cooking and games evenings for four, romantic dinners in front of the fireplace or a very cozy family evening on the couch emerge in the mind's eye. Qualitytime!
In the meantime, I am sitting alone with a bag of chips on the bed of my 40 square meter apartment and I rank my friends and family according to importance. Also cozy, right?
Now I would not write an article about it if I dislike a measure for selfish reasons. However, since last night I have been tickled by the feeling that I am less able to suppress than personal anger: injustice.
The 17.6 million forgotten
I get the faint feeling that the Chancellor forgot a not-too-small section of the population in her speech: the 17.6 million single households in Germany. And for them the measures mean something completely different than for couples, families and shared apartments.
Why is it okay if two families of four people organize game evenings every week – but not if I meet three regular individuals for dinner during this time? From a purely arithmetical point of view, I would keep the group of people I see half as small as the said family (four to eight). From a purely legal point of view, the latter could soon be forbidden for me if the measures are actually officially established.
Let's spin the thought further. There are around 2.6 million single parents in Germany. Should a separated mother only be allowed to see her ex-partner for the sake of children – but not her new partner if he does not live in her household?
And what about couples anyway? Should both partners now figure out who can choose their contact person for the next winter?
Those who do not fall into the common family model fail
In short: the calculation of fixed budgets seems logical to me at first glance, but not fair. And on the second neither logical nor fair. Because in the end it is a gain for all people who live with as many as possible under one roof – and a defeat for all those who do not live in a common family and relationship model.
Seeing a steady household on a regular basis can make sense and fun when you're a couple or a family. However, if you don't fall into this group, you will fall through the grid.
If even proponents of all Corona measures start looking for ways out of not having to choose between parents and best friends, something is going wrong.
I am not advocating relaxation. In fact, I can count my contacts over the past few weeks on one hand. I even meet most of them in the fresh air. And I'm fine with that. But I advocate measures that integrate society as a whole – and are not tailor-made for one section of the population. In Belgium, singles are finally allowed to have two instead of one "Knuffelcontact". Perhaps we can learn more from the country than a cute word – namely, taking individual starting points into account.
In order to finally get the corona crisis under control, we should all pull together. But please don't forget anyone.