Last night I went to bed knowing that there was a possibility that a ban on travel from Europe to the US could be implemented while I was sleeping. When my phone rang after 2AM I knew that President Trump announced the restrictions. While I can’t say I expected the travel ban to go into effect so quickly, I believe it’s the right call.
Before bed, and before the announced ban on travel from Europe to the US, I went through the scenarios in my head. I could go home to Dallas. I’d much rather spend two weeks stuck at home in Dallas with my family and the dogs than in my tiny apartment in Paris. With that scenario came the uncertainty of not knowing when I could come back to France. More importantly, made me think about the ‘what if’ questions associated with traveling home.
What if I already have COVID-19? That means I could risk infecting others along the way home, and eventually my family. My parents aren’t 60+, so they aren’t technically in the high-risk category, but they’re closer to 60 than they are to 50 (sorry mom). Even if I don’t have COVID-19 (to be clear, I don’t think I do), there are definite risks associated with traveling.
The Situation in Paris
I think the situation in Paris is probably a lot worse statistically right now than what’s being reported. But life here is pretty normal, besides the absence of tourists.
People are still out and about – on the streets, in stores, and at cafés. And maybe it’s just top of mind right now, but I’m noticing a lot of older people. No one seems panicked. Grocery stores have plenty of pasta, toilet paper, and everything else. The reaction thus far is very different here than in the US (or at least what’s being reported in the media).
Is this reaction a prime example of the differences in attitudes between the French and Americans? Maybe. I’m not a doctor, so I’m not sure which reaction is more valid. But Italy is France’s neighbor, and I have to wonder if a lockdown like that is coming here next.
The Travel Ban
When I woke up this morning my phone was full of texts from concerned family and friends. No one had actually linked to or explained exactly what they were referencing, so I decided to check Facebook. I was glad to see this post from Claudine Hemingway.
It’s comforting to know that as an American, I’m technically excluded from the ban. Although if I decided to go home I’m not sure how I’d get there.
I’m not a fan of feeling restricted. I like to have the ability to go where I want, when I want. The restrictive nature of the travel ban from Europe to the US is upsetting. But I believe it’s the right decision. It’s a definite way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Plus, I’m reminding myself that I wasn’t planning on going home in the next 30 days anyways.
The Next Steps
President Macron speaks tonight at 8PM, so we’ll see what he says. I expect (and hope) that he’ll implement more drastic measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in France.
Update: You can read my takeaways from Macron’s address here.
Maybe it’s the American in me, but I am 100% stocking up on essentials and non-perishable foods on my coming trips to the grocery store. Also, if spending two weeks or more at home is necessary, I’m thinking about inviting myself to Normandy.
With the travel ban from Europe to the US there’s not much I can do right now. I’ll just be washing my hands, practicing social distancing, and keeping my fingers crossed that things go back to normal sooner rather than later. I’ll continue to update you here, on Instagram, and on Facebook.