Today was the first time some shops downtown were open again. Most were only open for a few hours. Katie took a quick trip to the art supply store because she was out of a few things. As Central Finland reopens, she reports, people continue to take the pandemic seriously and behave with all due caution.
Most people aren’t wearing masks, as I’ve previously noted from trips to the grocery store. Finland doesn’t require them. She says she got some weird looks, but people gave her extra-wide berth as well. That works for me. She was prepared to explain that her husband has chronic respiratory issues. That she didn’t want to bring anything home, but no one challenged her. There were a lot of older people, and some young people, who were masked, but most folks seem to feel staying spaced two meters apart is good enough.
No one is taking cash. Where tap-to-pay is possible, they encourage that so fewer people are touching the card reader. Everyone already knew that money is filthy and riddled with germs. I wonder what long-term effects the pandemic will have on that. It would be harder to move to a cashless economy in the United States, where not everyone has a bank account.
The stores that were open all seemed to be having sales. She brought quite a swag haul for me: a small stuffed elephant, a pencil case shaped like a plush hedgehog, some stickers, floral Washi tape, and three (3) bullet journals that had been marked down to €2,50 each. Including the things she got for herself, the entire haul was under €18. Aside from the adorable elephant, which I need to find a special place for, they’re all things I will use eventually.
Central Finland Reopens
Cautiously beginning to reopen makes sense in Central Finland. We’re still at just 130 cases for a population of around 250,000. They’ve only tested less than 2% of the population, but testing has been targeted to the most vulnerable. The hotspots remains in Uusimaa (the Helsinki region), where most international travel passes through, and in Länsi-Pohja, the northern border where there have been issues with people fleeing the shit-show in Sweden. This pandemic is far from over, and things are far from returning to normal, but it’s possible to ease up on restrictions a bit without flinging the doors wide open and inviting a second wave in.