What does it feel like in Italy right now?
I guess it feels pretty normal now. I mean, our new normal. Everything is open again…
The biggest thing is the obvious, everyone has a mask on and the social distancing rules still apply (as far as waiting in lines, sitting in public spaces, etc.). There are stickers on floors, temperature takers at many entrances and hand sanitizer at every entrance, and "ya can't sit here" signs everywhere.
Larger cities in Italy feel their biggest loss: tourism. Besides people losing their lives, that’s been the next catastrophe from COVID. Tourism accounts for 13% of Italy’s GDP. That’s around $230 BILLION dollars. We are reopen for EU visitors but as you can imagine, no one is too keen on beebopping around Italy right now (or anywhere !?).
On Wednesday, the parliament actually extended the country's state of emergency until October 15. The coronavirus lingers so this allows the government more flexibility in fighting it (the state of emergency serves primarily to cut red tape and accelerate decision-making for the government when faced with disasters such as earthquakes, floods and other catastrophes). We are seeing about 200 new cases a day; far less deaths, single digits.
"Unfortunately, the pandemic today is not fully over, even though its effects are more contained and geographically limited," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
My deepest pain is traveling vs. not traveling to America. We were planning to come Aug/Sept for Luca’s summer break but we have decided it’s in the best interest of everyone – due to COVID – to wait. We will travel throughout Europe instead. Which is great, we are going to visit some sic new places. But that sucks. I haven’t been home since October, moments after losing my grandma. Since, my grandpa’s twin brother, Uncle Joe, has passed and grandpa himself has taken a turn for the worse. A tough decision that feels unfair to have to make. Anyway...
Italy is empty, peaceful and often eerily quiet yet buzzing with life. Local life.
Uncrowded --- missing tourists... yet crowded -- Italians no longer locked down and craving the sun.