As I’m sure nearly everyone knows, we’re going through a strange and most unusual time here in Italy, with the nation under nearly total lockdown. An unprecedented happening for our time and day in a democratic nation. And living through it seems quite surreal.
But I’m glad the Italian government reacted quickly and is making an effort to stop the spread of this virus and save lives. Even though many said they overreacted, but only time will show whether or not it was the right decision.
But what is life like under lockdown?
Strange. Eerie. Lonely. Perhaps for me, personally, I feel this a lot less than most people. I don’t get out much, and due to my husband’s job, spend most afternoons and evenings alone. Actually, I’m less alone these days because with schools closed he is off work. And our small town is usually quiet anyway. I only know what it must feel like in places like Rome, Milan, Florence, and Naples, or even in the midsized towns by talking to friends and what I see on news.
For Italians, a gregarious and social people, it’s extra hard. We hang out in piazzas and little courtyards over here. We stop off at the bar for a coffee, cappuccino, or beer, mostly just to hang out and be with people, learn the news, and share life together. We hug. We greet by kissing both cheeks. All of this has been put on hold. And it feels strange. We feel cut off.
Stores and services
Allowed to open/Still provided:
- Health and hygiene related (including optical services and dental emergencies)
- Supermarkets, butchers, bread & produce shops
- Industry (most factories open)
- Communications related (phones, internet, newspapers, TV, radio, mail, shipping)
- For fuel, heating, lighting, water, trash
- Hardware and building sectors
- Financial sector
- Insurance sector
- Laundering sector
- Travel (air, bus, train, car, sea)
- Funerals (but without ceremonies)
- Veterinary and pet services & supplies
- Trash services
Not allowed to Open:
- Schools, preschools, universities, etc.
- Restaurants, pizzerias cafeterias, coffee bars (except those linked to hospitals, factories, highway rest areas, gas stations, airports, bus & train stations, etc.)
- Pubs, discos, nightclubs
- Ice cream and pastry shops
- Religious services and ceremonies, including weddings and funerals
- Public parks and sports fields
- Malls and department stores
- Shoe and clothing stores
- Italy’s reknown outdoor markets
- Hair stylists, barbers, etc.
- Libraries, book stores, museums
- Fairs, conferences, events, demonstrations, concerts, manifestations
- Amusement parks, gyms, pools
Bars, pizzerias, and outdoor markets banned! It hardly seems like Italy!
What we can do (in our own town):
- Go out to purchase necessities or walk pets (1 person per family)
- Take children for a walk (1 adult, but this is frowned upon)
- Sit or work in our own garden or on our balcony, family members only.
- Connect with others by phone, internet, and mail.
- Shop online or through telemarketing.
- Read, listen to music, play games, watch movies & videos.
- Craft, learn a new skill, write.
- Pray, study, and worship God.
- Laugh, sing, dance, and play music – like the Italians did with tonight’s singing fest done from windows!
What we can’t do:
- Leave our home if we have any symptoms of the virus.
- Leave our town (except for work, health reasons, or to assist nonautonomous loved ones).
- Go to other homes or have others into ours.
- Hug, kiss, or shake hands with non family members.
- Use public parks.
- Panic buy food, necessities, or medical supplies (not enforced, but greatly encouraged).
What we must do
- Contact our doctor right away if we have any symptoms.
- When we go out, we must maintain at least 1 meter distance from other people.
- If we must leave town, we have to fill out and carry a written signed declaration of where and why we’re going. And they are stopping people.
- Pay a fine of €206 (about $200 US) for breaking any of these rules, or serve time in jail. And it goes on the penal record.
Why am I giving so many details?
Because it’s a serious thing. And because other nations are discussing following some of Italy’s measures, and this might give you an idea of some of the things you could expect to experience.
Is it easy?
Of course not. It’s hard knowing so many are sick, dying, or fretting over loved ones. And none of us wants to be inconvenienced. No one likes giving up the safety of their routine or the things they love. Or going without pay (as in our case). Hubby’s job is one of those that falls through the cracks.
But it’s really not that hard to respect the rules as long as we remember it’s for the safety of us all. And we should be willing to go through a little temporary discomfort for the love of others. Isn’t it what Jesus would willingly do?
And remember that no wall, lockdown, or restriction can ever separate us from God’s love!
He is with us always!