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bvlenci Mar 12th, 2020 02:47 AM

Italy is in total lockdown now
We are now on a much more restricted (nation wide) lockdown, due to last for two weeks. All shops, bars, and restaurants are closed, except for groceries, pharmacies, and newsvendors.

You can leave home to go to work, although, where possibile, working from home is recommended. You can leave home to care for relatives who are not self-sufficient. You can shop for food, medicine, or newspapers and magazines.

You can take a walk, solo, not with other people, and you can walk your dog. You can't associate with others when away from home, except as necessary for work or shopping.

Whenever you're outside your home you have to carry a certificate, which you can download and compile, attesting a valid reason for being outside. Failure to establish a valid reason can result in heavy fines.

A large number of people fled from northern Italy last weekend, when the first restrictions were about to take effect. They headed to family or to vacation homes in the south. They are not being welcomed with open arms. Many have been reported, sometimes by relatives, and they are fined and put in quarantine.

OReilly64 Mar 12th, 2020 03:01 AM

Such a tragedy. Stay safe.

Traveler_Nick Mar 12th, 2020 03:17 AM

Many people wearing masks today. Mostly the useless types. The more obvious thing was the strong smell of alcohol disinfectant.

hetismij2 Mar 12th, 2020 03:39 AM

I fully expect other countries to follow suit, sooner or later.
Keep safe.

No flying into or out of Schengen to the US from tomorrow.

bvlenci Mar 12th, 2020 04:13 AM

Originally Posted by HoltBri (Post 17077169)
Oh how scary

I don't find it scary. If it works to slow down the contagion, so that hospital don't get overwhelmed, then I don't mind the restrictions.

I really sympathize with parents who have small children and who can't work from home. All the daycare centers are closed.

bilboburgler Mar 12th, 2020 04:43 AM

I chatted with a guy in Vasto this morning. He is in his office (at a school) which is empty of kids, he is the IT manager and helping support the internet-learning that is going on. His kids are at-home learning from the internet. Apart from food shops and chemists, all the shops are closed. Next week he has been told to take a holiday.

Calabria62 Mar 12th, 2020 05:26 AM

Alas, I just cancelled my reservations for Venice and Florence for late May. This was my 70th birthday trip, and hopefully it will be all over by May, but we are being cautious. Haven't cancelled Switzerland yet.I will, but I'm dragging my feet. Hoping Lufthansa will accommodate changes beyond April.

Like others, I'm so disappointed, but better safe than sorry.

While the measures Italy has taken seem drastic, the decisive actions will no doubt slow the pace of infections. I'm sorry for the elderly and those whose lives have been turned upside down.

Thanks, bvlenci for the updates. I really enjoy reading your posts.

cafegoddess Mar 12th, 2020 05:39 AM

I have never seen Florence so empty. We had to stand in line to get in the grocery store but it wasn’t bad. We got lucky and found an earlier flight home (today Thursday). Some of the news we were reading was so disturbing. I was surprised the airport was not crowded in Florence and Munich since it is the last day you can fly out of Europe before the ban starts.

Rocket79 Mar 12th, 2020 06:13 AM

We have been Whatsapping with friends and relatives - some in Abruzzo and one in the north, a teacher. I feel for everyone but agree with these measures, and I wish we were doing more here in the states. Crazy times. Thanks for the post, bvlenci. Stay healthy.

annhig Mar 12th, 2020 12:23 PM

Thanks for the info, bvl. it sounds pretty tough but if it works it will be worth it. Strange to have to go out separately to walk the dog or whatever - what if you cannot physically go out without your carer, for example?

Stay well, both of you.

springstein Mar 12th, 2020 12:51 PM

Just received an email from Italia Rail pre-announcing their refund policy which seemed very fair to me.

We have non refundable tickets for the end of May, and they will be offering to issue travel vouchers good for two years for the amount we spent. (And those could also be used by friends or family) In addition, they will issue $100 for hotel, tours, or restaurants.

zebec Mar 12th, 2020 02:45 PM

Springstein, we just got that same rail email too. The irony. Due to our printer breaking down around Xmas and also my careless accidental erasure of the original email notification of purchase soon after, we'd had to re-buy our train tickets. There is probably some Italia Rail staffer at this moment seeing my double/repeat purchase for those very same dates and wondering, "What was wrong with this guy? Did he forget that he'd already bought the tix?!" Insurance has us covered no matter what, so no biggie. Fingers crossed for Italy.
I am done. The end.

natylou Mar 12th, 2020 08:28 PM

Thanks for this report bvlenci. Good to know what IRL looks like.

zebec Mar 12th, 2020 08:34 PM

Oh God, that footage of the actor with his dead sis in Napoli. Respect.
I am done. The end.

bvlenci Mar 13th, 2020 04:48 AM

Originally Posted by annhig (Post 17077473)
Thanks for the info, bvl. it sounds pretty tough but if it works it will be worth it. Strange to have to go out separately to walk the dog or whatever - what if you cannot physically go out without your carer, for example?

Stay well, both of you.

I assume that husband and wife, or carer and cared for, can go out together. My husband and I are going for walks together. The point is not to spread the contagion, and, so far, we don't have to stay in separate rooms at home!

The city of Ancona is closing all of the parks that have gates, because people (especially teens) were congregating there.

My husband has been teaching his grandson coding. Yesterday, they moved the lessons to Skype.

progol Mar 13th, 2020 05:46 AM

Thank you for sharing your experiences living through this terrible experience. It sounds like you’re finding the joy in the simpler pleasures of life and making the best of a bad situation.

I’m in NYC and we’re starting to see normal life shrinking around us, with most museums shut down and Broadway theater going dark.

Traveler_Nick Mar 13th, 2020 06:46 AM

Originally Posted by bvlenci (Post 17077739)
I assume that husband and wife, or carer and cared for, can go out together. My husband and I are going for walks together. The point is not to spread the contagion, and, so far, we don't have to stay in separate rooms at home!


You're supposed to stay a metre a part. It's actually been suggested to stay in different rooms. Not sure how they would work in a small city apartment

nochblad Mar 13th, 2020 08:06 AM

As they say - Desperate times, desperate measures.

As many know I live in Como which is in Lombardy, the worst hit part of Italy. However, it is one of the regions with a pretty good health system. Extensive testing has shown up a lot of individuals who are positive but I fear that this does not necessarily reflect the reality in other Regions as from direct knowledge I know that testing for the virus is not nearly as extensive.

From what I understand having a true understanding of the spread of the virus is crucial to being able to take the necessary steps to control it and flatten the curve as is the current objective, apparently. All in all the information from Italy and its spread is obviously more reliable than that from other countries such as China and Iran. America should take note!

On a more personal level it is remarkable how daily life has changed. Pharmacies are obviously still open but many have set up temporary glass screens and regulate the numbers in them by a rigorous separation between customers - many require a 2 meter separation rather than the 1 meter previously suggested by the government. Many supermarkets restrict the number of customers inside at any one time and most staff as well as customers have face masks.

In most Italian supermarkets you find the fruit and veg section first of all. This section has plastic gloves which are used before selecting the fresh produce. I now use them throughout the supermarket throwing them away only after I leave.

Now there are random checks all over towns in Italy and at any time you can be asked why you are traveling around. Going to a pharmacy and a supermarket is generally ok but obviously it should be one close to where you actually live. In addition, newsagents and tabacchi (selling cigarettes etc) are open. Maybe Italy would be in a better place if both were closed!

There are 2 noticeable features if you have to go out. The first is a phenomenal reduction in traffic - it almost seems like driving at 3 or 4 in the morning but the sun is out. The second is a huge drop in pollution (aided also by the very warm winter). I have never seen skies so blue.

annhig Mar 13th, 2020 10:03 AM

Thank you too, nochblad, for this news from the "front". What an extraordinary change from the Italy we all know and love. I suppose that a reduction in traffic is an advantage but what about those who can't get out at all ? Bad enough to be shut in with one's "loved ones" but what about those who live alone?

I fear that our government is not paying enough attention to what Italy is going through, and we will pay for it.

scrb11 Mar 13th, 2020 10:15 AM

This is a heartbreaking account by a surgeon in Bergamo from the front lines.

It was before the lock downs but it kind of hints at why such a Draconian measure had to be taken:

After thinking for a long time if and what to write about what's happening here, I felt that silence was not responsible. I will therefore try to convey to lay-people, those who are more distant from our reality, what we are experiencing in Bergamo during these Covid-19 pandemic days. I understand the need not to panic, but when the message of the danger of what is happening is not out, and I still see people ignoring the recommendations and people who gather together complaining that they cannot go to the gym or play soccer tournaments, I shiver. I also understand the economic damage and I am also worried about that. After this epidemic, it will be hard to start over.

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