Parisians reflect on a year since first lockdown
PARIS (Reuters) – A year to the day since France entered its first lockdown, Paris residents reflected on what they have lost — and in some cases gained — over 12 months when the COVID-19 pandemic turned daily life upside down.
Summer Arend, from the United States, came to Paris four years ago and worked as a sommelier in a restaurant, an industry forced to close because of the pandemic.
The stress of long periods locked down in her small apartment contributed to the breakup of her relationship with her boyfriend, she said.
Yet looking back over the past year, she saw positives.
“It really put things in perspective for me. Having the time off has given me a lot of time to think about my life, and the next steps,” she said.
From midday on March 17, 2020, all non-essential businesses were ordered to close, office workers stayed home, and for almost two months, people could only step outside for essential trips or an hour of exercise per day.
The lockdown was eased by the summer, then re-imposed at the end of October, then eased again at the end of last year. Now, with severe COVID-19 cases rising, French officials say Paris may have to go back into some form of lockdown.
Anne Stephan works in museums, another mainstay of Parisian life shut because of the pandemic.
“I fluctuate between moments of anxiety and moments, not of optimism, but of hope. I would say that as time goes, anxiety has grown in me a little bit more than at the beginning of the lockdown,” she said.
Serge Ristitch, a 61-year-old sound engineer, said the hardest parts of the past year were not being able to ride his bicycle, or visit museums to indulge his passion for art.
“It was very hard, and hard to accept psychologically,” he said.
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