For many people who are single or separated from loved ones during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the feelings of loneliness can be strong. In order to “flatten the curve” of the infection rate, nearly every country and state in the world had imposed restrictions on leaving the house and this includes cherished visits with family and friens. Many people have been replacing this contact with video chats in the form of FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. However, one elderly couple in Europe has been going on social distancing dates without using any tech at all.
Inga Rasmussen is 85-years-old and she lives in Denmark. She has been seeing Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, who is 89 and lives in Germany, for the past two years. Rasmussen would usually drive to see her sweetie every day across the Møllehus border, as the two live fairly close to each other. Though they met late in life by chance, they look forward to their daily visits.
The couple both live in the Schengen Zone, an area where European residents are normally free to move between countries without having to deal with border police. However, for the first time in decades many countries are once again sealing up their borders in order to stem the tide of Covid-19 victims.
According to Swedish publisher, The Local, the list of who is allowed to cross the border into Denmark is as follows:
- Danish citizens
- Those working or living in Denmark
- Those delivering good to Denmark
- Those collecting goods from Denmark
- Those with visitation rights to children in Denmark
- Those visiting extremely sick family members in Denmark
- Other reasons for visiting will be assessed on a case by case business
- Ordinary visits to family members will not be a sufficient reason to enter Denmark
Even if they couple had been married, they still would not have been allowed to cross the border to see each other under these strict new rules. It is along the barricaded border that Igna and Karsten still meet everyday, although at a distance.
The couple were first photographed having their cross-border, social-distancing rendezvous by Henrik Frandsen, mayor of nearby Tønder in Denmark. He was out having a bike ride when he spotted the couple and snapped their photo. He then posted the image to Facebook with a bit of their backstory along with the following call to action, “Let us stand together during this difficult time and find solutions together.”
Karsten rides his bike to the border and usually drinks wine on their date while Inga has to drive there and so sticks to coffee. The couple are able to meet fairly safely since the border barricade is open air and they make sure to sit at least 6 feet away from each other.
They each bring their own chairs so that they can have a nice, relaxing chat in comfort. The two also forego the usual hug and kiss upon greeting. However, it’s clear from looking at them that they simply enjoy being around each other- even at a distance and even under these strange circumstances we all find ourselves in now.
See how this couple has their social distancing dates in the video below.
Coronavirus can’t kill this cross-border romance 💞 pic.twitter.com/Lsu41Ascee
— DW News (@dwnews) March 31, 2020