7 good things you can do during the coronavirus crisis in the Netherlands

The coronavirus crisis has brought out the good side of many here in the Netherlands: apart from some exceptions of course, in general people are keeping to the rules, and they’re looking after each other. But there is always more to be done in that regard, so we thought we’d put together a list of some nice things you can do for the people around you.

Some are very practical, and some will just bring out a smile — both are equally good, when we’re all feeling a bit cut off from our fellow human beings, and missing that sweet social interaction. BUT, physical isolation doesn’t necessarily need to mean social isolation in the literal sense: we can still do nice things for each other, so long as we’re careful about hygiene and the 1.5 metre rule. And speaking of hygiene, here’s the first (and most important) thing you can do for your fellow citizens in this time of crisis.

Wash your hands

This is so incredibly important and yet so simple to do. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day: before and after you leave the house especially, but also before and after you touch something that will also be touched by someone else (that’s important for some of our ideas below).

Wash your hands! Image:Burst/Pexels

Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, for twenty seconds, with soap and warm water. You can also carry around some hand sanitiser with you when you go outside, in case you need it then.

By doing this you’ll be taking care of those who are vulnerable in society, as well as anyone else you might interact with- such as grocery store workers.

Keep paying your cleaner

Although not everyone can afford to do this, if you can, keep paying your cleaner— or anyone else you have a standing appointment with but who you can’t meet in person. This will help them to stay afloat in this difficult time. Many cleaners in particular don’t make a lot of money on a regular basis, so may not have a safety net of savings built up.

This sort of good deed would of course not be necessary if we didn’t live under capitalism, but as we do, we need to look out for our fellow humans especially if they’re in a worse financial situation than we are as a result of the crisis.

Helpling, a company that puts people who need a cleaner in touch with cleaners from their area, has laid out a set of guidelines for people who want their cleaner to continue coming during this time, which is, of course, still a possibility (not to mention that hygiene is even more important these days) These are really helpful for figuring out how you can minimise the risk of infection to either party.

Our friends at Helpling have also set up a functionality to continue to pay your cleaner even if they don’t come to clean, thereby foregoing on their percentage of the payment.

Buy local, and from small businesses

If you want something, whether that’s a book, clothing, a new plant, a meal- buy it locally, don’t order from Amazon or some other large company. Right now, small businesses are definitely struggling, so every purchase you make with them matters.

Many restaurants and cafes have takeaway and delivery options at the moment, and bookstores, plant stores, and clothing stores are likely still open for a limited number of hours, or have worked out other ways to sell their products.

Even businesses that have decided to close their doors to the public may still have the option to order something online or by phone with them, which they can send to you by mail (or might even deliver themselves). So definitely check with your local businesses if there’s some way you can support them.

Check in on your neighbours

If you have elderly or otherwise vulnerable neighbours, make sure to ask them how they’re doing and if they need help with anything (obviously, you should do this from a safe distance). They might want groceries done, or something else picked up for them. But definitely ask, and don’t wait for them to ask you, they might feel awkward asking for help so the best thing to do is to offer first.

You can also look after your other neighbours: maybe you have some neighbours who are parents who are also working from home, who could really use someone going to the grocery store for them. Or maybe they’re a bunch of students struggling financially at the moment, and you might be able to make them a meal. Basically, if you have the time and energy, this is the perfect opportunity to chat with all your neighbours (again, from a safe distance) and see what you can do for them.

Tip if you get delivery

If you want to get food delivered to your door at this time, maybe through an app like Deliveroo/Thuisbezorgd/UberEats, then make sure you tip the person who delivers your food. All of these apps have the possibility to tip the deliverer, either before or after it arrives. Note that it’s best not to offer them a cash tip, as this can spread the virus.

A lot of restaurants who are newly offering delivery will have their own systems set up, many with the option to tip electronically as well. That also means you can avoid going through the major delivery companies and directly support small businesses. Maybe even call or email a local business that you want to order with, to figure out what the best way to tip is.

Tip your delivery person during the crisis! Image: samsaundersleeds/flickr

Also, it goes without saying, but be nice to the person who delivers your food. They are, after all, putting themselves at risk, and they’re probably also not being paid a whole lot. Smile, respect the contactless delivery, and thank them, at the very least.

Donate blood (or face masks!)

A lot of people who would regularly donate blood aren’t doing so at the moment, which is causing a shortage. While it’s understandable that people are afraid of exposing themselves to infection, unless you’re part of a vulnerable group, you’ll do much more good than harm by donating blood.

Especially while the healthcare system is under such strain, it’s important to support it where we can, and donating blood is one way of doing that. You can find more information about donating blood in the coronavirus times on Sanquin’s page about that very topic, but basically, the obvious rules apply: don’t donate blood if you have any potential coronavirus complaints, or if you live with someone who does, and go alone to donate blood.

There is also a really nice initiative to donate money to provide face masks for healthcare workers. Because the demand is so high, the extra money can really help keep doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals safe.

Take part in distractions for kids

Although many kids are enjoying driving their parents crazy, plenty more are finding lockdown just as difficult as the adults. Lots of nice distractions have been set up for them, including the very cute teddy-bear hunt.

Source: Abuzer van Leeuwen

If you have an old teddy hanging around, put it in your window so neighbourhood kids can see it as they go for a walk with their parents. Super easy, and you’ll make some kids (and likely some adults) very happy.

Got any other tips for good deeds you can do during the corona times? Leave them in the comments below!

Feature Image: Abuzer van Leeuwen/Supplied. 

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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