The Czech Republic, having successfully controlled the Corona virus, has begun the process of reopening stores, restaurants, and other public spaces. Food (potraviny) and drug stores (lekarny in the Czech Republic) have always remained open. Today, restaurants and pubs could begin serving food and drinks at outdoor tables. Our adopted home of Prague does not have a huge outdoor café culture like other cities in Europe, like Paris or Barcelona. Prague does have some pubs with courtyard beer gardens, similar to England, but mostly, Czechs eat indoors, many restaurants actually existing in basements of buildings. So today, maybe a quarter of the restaurants and pubs had opened with a few tables out front.
The weather today is cool for mid-spring, only 7 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit for our behind-the-times American friends) and rather windy. Still, a few Czechs were seated at tables eating lunch or having a pilsner. They did not look comfortable, but that clearly wasn’t the point for them. Every spring, people venture outside in temperatures colder than they would accept in the Autumn. There is a certain defiance of the elements we humans take on against the end of the winter lock down. First sign of any spring warmth and we go outside, walking, jogging, bicycling, even sunbathing in weather that if it occurred in October or November we’d be rushing to get inside.
This wasn’t an ordinary cold spring day, however. The cold of winter and early spring has the added sting of the Corona virus pandemic lock down. Eight weeks of not being allowed to go to any restaurant or pub was being lifted. Understandably, some Czechs were having their lunch outside no matter how cold it is, damn it. It is a quiet but firm defiance that we have come to recognize as part of the nature of the Czechs. They survive; they do what they want. Not in a selfish or nasty way, but with cold defiance.