When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Le Quotidien is a French-language daily published in Luxembourg, founded in 2001. It is the most read French-language newspaper in the country, and holds a left-liberal editorial stance.
A Canadian tourism agency using baby beluga whales as a measuring tool for social distancing.
Emma Flacard

Holy Incense And Baby Whales: How We've Measured Social Distance

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a part of our daily lives for more than a year now, including through a range of rules and restrictions to follow to avoid contracting (or disseminating) the virus. It's a scary time, but also a convenient excuse for a moderate dose of silliness. One shot of silly that has spread around the world is the attempt to find new ways to make sense of the social distance guidelines, often with local references to make it more tangible for residents.

Our favorite recent example is a Polish church that used the range of a swinging incense burner to demarcate the appropriate distance we must keep. Here's a banner in front of a Warsaw church to show (well, sort of) the range one must keep.


A banner reminding Polish worshipper to respect social distancing. — Photo: Tomasz Dostatni/Facebook

The pious Polish reference sent us on a quest to gather other local examples around the world of how best to visualize the proper distance (approx 1.5-meters) for social distancing:

FRANCE: Make sure to keep one dozen medium oysters between you and your friend, informs local French newspaper Sud Ouest. In the Arcachon Bay, oysters are more than a symbol, they're a culinary pride and a key tourist attraction.

AUSTRALIA: Keep one kangaroo or at least three adult koalas apart. The two iconic animals have been used as visual reminders to respect the 1.5 meter social distancing rule. Signs have been displayed throughout the country by the Australian government, as The Daily Mailexplains.

BELGIUM: In this food-and-drink-loving nation, residents have been told to make sure there's always either ten cones of fries, eight Brussels waffles or three Jupiler beer crates between themselves and others.

Social distancing explained in Belgium. — Photo: r/belgium

• UK: Stay at least one cow apart from your neighbor, warn the islands of Guernsey with a very realistic and funny message to locals.

CANADA: In the northern part of Quebec, all sorts of domestic animals have also been turned into wacky converting measures. In the Côte-Nord region, the local tourism agency has imagined ways to both sensitize residents and put a smile on their face, daily newspaper Le Quotidien reports. Eight puffins, one moose, eight crabs … the rich Canadian fauna turns out to be a valuable resource for health guidelines.

A shelter for him instead of tax dodgers?

Luxembourg, From Tax Shelter to Animal Haven

LUXEMBOURG — This tiny country has long been known for its unsavory status as a tax haven. But now Luxembourg may be on its way to forging a new title: as animal rights capital of the world.

A new government bill aims to protect the "security and dignity" of animals, and recognizes that they possess "certain rights," reports Le Quotidien, a prominent daily in Luxembourg.

The government boasts that if the measure is passed, it would provide the strongest animal protections in the world. Those convicted of mistreating their furry friends could face prison time ranging from eight days to three years, and fines up to 200,000 euros, a far more severe penalty than what was outlined in a 1983 law on the subject.

The government proposal, which animal rights groups helped draft, argues that animals possess rights because they have "a nervous system with the ability to feel pain and other emotions," thereby broadening the definition of mistreatment to include "anguish and suffering."

The bill, however, doesn't appear to address the "anguish" of cattle that may wind up on your dinner table. As noted in another Luxembourg newspaper L'Essentiel, the bill prohibits raising animals for slaughter primarily for their skin, fur, feather or wool, and bans the practice of killing economically unviable male chicks. It also aims to stop animals from being offered as prizes or gifts and reserves the sale of dogs and cats to breeders that guarantee the welfare of the four-legged creatures.

"This law is more than necessary," says Marie-Anne Heinen of ASBL, a Luxembourg-based animal rights group, adding that violence against animals has risen in the last 25 years. "It will help associations like mine continue to carry out their work."

If the bill becomes law, animals would find a friendly home in Luxembourg. It's the kind of haven taxpayers around the world can rally behind.