Yesterday, March 11th, Italy went from lockdown to shutdown. This means all commercial activities are closed save for supermarkets, pharmacies, banks. Public transport continues to function.
The shutdown exists to enforce social distancing and to prevent contagion. Aside from buying essentials and emergencies, we’ve been told to stay home. There is no way you can watch TV and not get this message. (Walking the dog is permitted and tabacchi shops selling cigarettes are still opened!) If you are to leave your home for any reason, you must have a written “autodichiarazione” (self-declaration) explaining why you are out and about. These declarations are needed even to walk to the grocery store. You can download the form found online or, as I did, write it out by hand (if it’s for something such as buying food). But travelling from one town to another requires a printed form.
A few hours after the announcement of the Italian shutdown, the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 is a pandemic.
This morning I went grocery shopping Shutdown Style. Only one person per household is allowed out at a time for this purpose. I went to the discount down the street and at 9:30 a.m. there were five women ahead of me in line—all tranquilly one meter apart (the plaid trolly is mine). But for some unknown reason, they were lined up in the street. Only 4 people at a time were allowed inside. Vigili (city police) were making the rounds to insure that people were abiding to the new social distancing code. Luckily, I was in line for only 10 minutes. Once inside, I shopped as quickly as possible in consideration for the people waiting their turn. Having a shopping list helps!
No one complained and I heard an elderly lady say: ”I lived through the war and this is nothing.”
As I write this, it’s 11 a.m. and the streets are deserted and, for Rome, the sound of silence is strange.
Obviously, it’s an economical tragedy. Emergency measures are being studied to help small businesses and freelance workers survive. Payment for taxes and mortgages have been postponed. There is free home delivery for medications and a special number to call if you feel you have coronavirus symptoms.
Good news of the day: Italy will not be participating in Defender Europe 20!
Related: WHO declares the outbreak of the new coronavirus is a pandemic + Italy Shuts Down All Shops and Restaurants as Coronavirus Cases Rise + autocertificazione generica + Italy will not participate in Defender Europe 20 (in Italian) + US participation in Defender 2020 reduced amid coronavirus outbreak