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My neighbors are disrespectful in how to act since policies adopted for coronavirus

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Question - (14 April 2020) 5 Answers - (Newest, 15 April 2020)
A female age 36-40, anonymous writes:

Hi guys,

I would really appreciate your advice.

I live in a country that has introduced a severe measures for fighting the corona virus, including a stay-at-home / work-from-home, all non-essential activities are forbidden. You can go to a store once a week, and have to a special permit to prove that your work is essential (doctors, garbage collectors...) and that you cannot work from home.

Almost all the people I know respect these measures, not because they are cowards or because "the president said so", but because they are respectful of others and do not want to put other people at risk. However, two of my closest neighbors are not among them.

My family lives on a farm and we have been dealing with this situation well. Our 3 kids have understood the importance of the situation and are doing the best they can. Our first neighbors are a couple that comes now and then do their country house. When the crisis hit they fled the capital for the "fear of getting infected" (their words).

Other neighbors, like us, live here and have been really disrespectful of the introduced measures. They go about their lives like nothing has changed, including trying to pop by just the other day. They asked their son to call my middle son (not me or my husband!) to open the gate for them and they arrived in front of our house. Had they called my husband or me, we would have asked them what the emergency was and then politely explained that in the light of the recent situation we had to postpone their visit. They were a bit surprised that we hadn't invited them in. We asked them to stay in the car. Otherwise we were really nice to them. We chatted, but we didn't want them anywhere near us or our kids, whom we asked to stay in the house. Their son wanted to go inside, but we asked them again politely to stay in the car. After about 10 - 15 minutes they left obviously disappointed. They didn't need anything, they just, as I said, live as they always have.

The worst thing is that the wife went to the dentist's less than a week ago and it has been confirmed that some members of the staff in that medical center were infected. Now, I honestly think that I do not need a reason in this situation to ask someone who came uninvited to stay in the car, I'd just like to share with you this piece of information to underline that there's nothing that would make them change their minds about this pandemics. First they thought that this was nothing. Now they think it's nothing serious and that we will all get it at some point. The fact that our hospitals are run over and that there are ZERO beds in the ICU just means nothing to them.

Anyway, two days ago, for Easter, the first couple I mentioned organized a lunch and invited our friends over and they came -the whole family! Including their children AND their parents that live on another farm. This alone is really asking for trouble, you know how the virus works, but what I found especially weird was that they were PARTYING. Houses are scattered on the hills around here and for anyone to hear their neighbors listening to music and singing means that they must have some amazing audio equipment for one and that they must be screaming and not singing. It went on for at least 3 hours.

I just don't know how to explain this to my kids. I kept telling them that how others live is none of our business. My husband got angry. He's brother is a doctor and has been talking to us every day on how desperate the situation is.

Should I ignore the whole thing or should I discuss this at some point with our neighbors that popped by?

Thank you!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 April 2020):

You need to be firm here, when dealing with ignorant people. They should not even want to put anybody through the embarrassment of having to tell them to keep their distance. Don't stress too much, but tell them to go do their own thing while this lock down is on and please respect your wishes for the safety of your own family.

Children don't need to know the full extent of this and how you approach telling them is your choice.

I work in health care and this attitude gets right up my nose, it's complete selfishness, they should come and work in the hospitals and see if they want to risk it then. Nobody likes the measures but they are in place to SAVE LIVES and that's that. People who play about with something like this need to go see the hospitals the care homes that covid is ripping through, the families torn apart, go to the makeshift morgues, go speak to the one's at the front line and tell them not to worry, like your brother in law said, who is a doctor.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 April 2020):

This epidemic has shown some of the peculiarities of the human behaviour and reaction in face of calamity. Take my family for example, some of us are conforming to the directives of the authorities whereas some of us are not and since the youngest among us is over thirty years old it is very difficult to force everyone to conform. Under these circumstances one can only be concerned with his own safety as much as possible. You have every right to be concerned about your familys safety but really you can't control the actions of the others outside your family. We can only hope.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia +, writes (15 April 2020):

Aunty BimBim agony auntYou are doing the right thing. Until a vaccine is available and until there are sufficient and efficient testing protocols put in place we could all be carriers without showing any symptoms.

If the kids start getting antsy just explain to them you are going to listen to Uncle Doctor and not the man next door who's job is growing potatoes (or whatever the crop is).

Here in Australia we are asked to maintain safe social distancing of 1.5 metres and to self isolate. In New Zealand the required distance is 2 metres.

These are strange, and unexpected times, but by continuing to get regular updates from Uncle Doctor you are better placed than many.

Take care, keep the kids occupied as much as you can, and hopefully we will all come through this together.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 April 2020):

First, insist that your children don't invite or accept company without your permission. Be the parents! Exercise some authority in your own house, and on your own property.

Who runs your household? You and your husband, or your kids and neighbors? Who has the ultimate responsibility of protecting your family and property?

You can't be nice or passive, when people are ignoring you when you ask that they stay in the car; or if you have repeatedly informed them you are observing the social distancing ordinance in accordance to the government's guidelines and recommendations. The purpose is to protect your family and others from infection. Your children will sneak around you if you hesitate or fail be a vigilant and forceful parent. They apparently have already. Better nip it in the bud! It isn't over yet! You can't tell people what to do, but you do have rights on your own property.

Why are you afraid of these people? Why wouldn't your children respect you and your husband when you have explained clearly what's going on? Why would what other people think and do override your house-rules and instructions?

You can't be friends when people don't respect you. Let them do whatever they want to do in their own homes, with their own lives, on their own property, and with whomever they want! Stand-up for yourselves!

You and your husband will either have to be firm and assertive, enforce what you say with your kids; or let people walk all over you. Complaining about it here isn't too effective. You have to deal with it directly on your home-turf.

Make some preemptive calls and inform your neighbors that you prefer no unexpected-visits; and you'd appreciate that you and your husband are not circumvented to get to your children. Put a lock on the gate if you have to.

Sit the children down, and set them straight. Revoke phone and internet privileges; if they don't respect your instructions. Set the parental-controls on their devices. These are not normal times; and you are responsible for the safety of your family. If there are funerals in your town, make sure it's not any of your own; if you can humanly help it.

Please be safe, and take care of yourselves! God bless and watch-over you!

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (14 April 2020):

Honeypie agony auntShould you ignore it?

Yes. What they CHOOSE to do is up to them, I would just politely AVOID any contact with them if you fear they can pass on the virus to you.

Should you "discuss" it with the neighbors? No, what would that do? They have MADE the choice to live ans they do, regardless of the "guide-lines". You are not going to convince them. So why bother?


I go about my life. There are plenty of activities I can't (obviously) do that involve other people and public places (the gym, the pool) but no, I don't stay home. I go for a drive, bike ride or walk with the kids, but NO I don't stop by at people's homes hoping to socialize. That would be rude.

If they are partying, then obviously, you could have called the police if it violates the noise ordinance.

I know of no one who has been seriously ill. None in our area have tested positive (so far).

Around here, 50% of people wear masks when out shopping, 10% wear both masks and gloves and well, the rest don't.

Most people I know are ready to go back to school and work.

This virus is here to stay. Remember H1N1? the flu that cased 500,000 deaths in the US alone? It's scary stuff. So is Covid. If we are "lucky" a vaccine will be produced soonish, and many cases can be avoided in the future.

And, again, I don't want to sound like I dismiss your fears, this is ME personally and MY personal opinion, it will be OK. I am sad that people have lost their lives to this virus. But I don't think all of us holing up will really fix much. UNLESS you are a person who IS in the "at risk group". WE can ALL be the carrier who had such mild symptoms you didn't get sick, your kids didn't get sick either, and then you go and infect others because you feel fine.

It is OK to use common sense here.

If your neighbors are acting like nothing has happened that is, to an extend THEIR choice. Just like it's YOUR choice to not want to mingle with them socially.

As for what do you tell your kids? Well, if they ASK why so-and-so can run around and do stuff and he can't then you tell him that YOU and your husband have chosen to follow the rules and guide lines and "so-and-so" has chosen NOT to. That you and your husband wants to keep your family healthy and feel following the rules will more likely ensure safety. No need for long-winded or scary scenarios.

If you feel safer following the guide lines, then do so.

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