June 15, 2021

Coronavirus: Parks and playgrounds deserted amid new Guetersloh outbreak

June 24, 2020

Given that all the schools and nurseries are closed in Guetersloh - the north-west German district at the centre of the country's latest COVID-19 outbreak - you might expect to see lots of children around.

But the playgrounds are empty.

Maybe parents are worried about taking their children out since lockdown measures were reimposed here after 1,500 workers tested positive for coronavirus at a nearby meat factory.

We did bump into one father on paternity leave with his baby who said those who have to work, like his brother and sister-in-law, have it hard.

"They have children of three and seven. They have to work. The nurseries have only just opened again and now they're shut," he said.

Along with nurseries - bars, gyms, swimming pools and cinemas are closed again. Businesses only just trying to recoup money lost during the height of the crisis are now facing more losses.

And people are praying this latest lockdown only lasts a week as currently promised.

People tell us they are prepared to go along with the measures - keeping to their household or mixing with just one person outside. But everyone we spoke to is angry.

They claim the virus was able to spread at the plant because the many migrant workers employed there live in cramped conditions. They also accuse the state governor of not acting fast enough.

A young woman selling strawberries from a van with protective plastic at the window said: "Those workers shop in the same supermarket as me. They go to the same places as me. Why wasn't there a lockdown sooner?"

One of her customers said a friend travelled out of the area and rocks were thrown at her car. People from Guetersloh were not wanted.

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These are the first residents in Germany to experience the joy and relief of an easing of lockdown only to see it introduced again.

The hope is that others won't have to go through the same if the virus spreads outside this area.

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