How we’re coping with Denmark’s coronavirus lockdown

How we're coping with Denmark's coronavirus lockdown
How are you going to survive two and a half weeks with your kids at home? Photo: Imagebank Sweden
Foreigners living in Denmark this morning woke up to a new reality of home-working, supermarket stockpiling, and for parents, the unexpected burden of all-day childcare. The Local asked them how they were coping.
The foreigners The Local approached on the Expats in Copenhagen Facebook page seemed mostly sanguine in the face of the tough restrictions announced by Denmark's government on Wednesday evening. 
 
Denmark's government on Thursday announced a guarantee scheme for small-to-medium businesses to help then bridge the two-and-a-half week lockdown. The government will allocate 1bn Danish kroner ($150m) to guarantee up to 70 percent of bank loans to help companies keep solvent.  
 
But foreigners with small businesses seemed either unaware of the scheme or uncertain as to whether it would apply to them. 
 
The small business owners
 
“I am very worried about being able to make enough to keep afloat during this time,” says Susan Churchwell, who runs the Susie Sugar Cakes shop in Slagelse. 
 
Chå Vestergaard, who runs the children's science education company Little Pink Maker, wondered if the government would provide any support to small businesses. 
 
“I want to know if the government will provide assistance during this time period and if not then what will happen to the said small business folks who rely upon customer/daily interaction to keep them afloat!” 
 
“I decided to close my shop because kindergarten is closed, and anyway lingerie is not something what people will think about now,” said Eliza Małecka, who runs the lingerie shop UndressMe
 
“I don't know what will happen with my business. That's the most scary thing to me, that something what I've been working on for the last 1.5 years can disappear. I really hope that the government will help the businesses.” 
 
Those with small children 
 
Those having to work from home at the same time as looking after children worried about how much work they would manage to get done over the coming weeks.  
 
“These are going to be a very unproductive two weeks,” complained Juliana Nardelli. “I'm a single parent and my 8-year-old is home from today and already driving me crazy! Luckily my manager is in the same situation and he's Finnish (best country for gender equality) so he's fine with that.”
 
Paul Johnstone, who sells medical equipment to hospitals, said while the crisis was bringing in new business, he was struggling to work with the racket his two children were making. 
 
“One of them is 8 and autistic, the other is 4. I think there’s a large animal in the house at the moment with the amount of noise they’re making!” 
 
Vidyadutt S, from India, and his wife have set up a shift system allowing them to alternate work and the task of entertaining their three-and-a-half year old daughter. 
 
“It will be a bit difficult to keep her entertained but we have decided to do it together, taking turns,” he said. 
 
Kristian Bara is also having to combine home-working with looking after a one-year-old old, five-year-old and nine-year-old. “We can work from home but both our jobs require concentration,” he said. 
 
“One word: struggling!!” said Emily Bolton. “Working from home is not ‘working’ with a <2 year old." 
 
“Three hours in to lockdown and it already feels like it’s going to be a long two-and-a-half weeks with a one year old and two very much still working parents in a one room space,” said Ayla Newhouse. 
 
“It is probably bigger drama for kids than parents,” pointed out JJ Buka. “We can manage our work in 80 percent of the time, but our son is so bored due to limited attention. We seriously feel bad for him but still try to get the best out of this situation.” 
 
Those without small children
 
Expats without small children seemed relatively relaxed about working from home, with many saying they worked from home a lot of the time anyway. 
 
“It will make little difference to me,” Andy Popp, a Professor at Copenhagen Business School. “We will continue being paid. It's going to be a lot of 'together time' however.”
 
Others had decided to take their holidays early to make weathering the pandemic easier for their employees. 
 
Daniela, who works in the travel industry, agreed with her employer to bring her two week holiday forward by a week. 
 
“So I'm covered for the next two weeks. Then will see. No one really knows what's going to happen,” she said. 
 
When she was challenged by others on why she was helping her employer out, she said she wanted to make sure they stayed solvent. 
 
“I work in the tourism branch which is the most hit. I still want to have a job after those two weeks,” she said. “I'm trying to help them and help me to still have a job. If we are not flexible now, what's next?” 
 

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