I guess, better late than never, right?
I’m doing my best to reside in this mindset rather than saying, “Why the hell has it take so long for a mask mandate?” By June, we’d knocked Covid 19 back to a small simmer. Why not seal the efforts with a mask requirement to keep Italy from turning into a hotspot again, like it is now? I’ve been waiting for the Italian government to issue a mask mandate for months. When we emerged from ten solid weeks of restricted lockdown, I was afraid people would start high-fiving one another that we emerged victorious and could start relaxing. My fears became reality.
Oh, what a mistake.
10,000 new cases yesterday.
Italy’s mask mandate was put into place almost nine days ago when new cases were approaching 4,000. This means the Italian mask mandate didn’t become an important thing to do until the cases were already accelerating. Talk about trying to chase a speeding car.
Given that there’s a two-to-three week lag between action and any semblance of a “payoff,” I’m guessing that we’re going to see cases keep rising. Read the BBC article about the new mask mandate.
Italy became too complacent, in my opinion.
We were the poster child of Covid meltdown in the early days. “Poor Italy,” was an oft-expressed sentiment back in March and April. Then, when Italy behaved for ten weeks, the country became the poster child for efficacy in our response. Summer came, people started visibly relaxing and dispensing with preventative measures. The government put far too much trust in “personal responsibility” just as we were entering Ferragosto, the massive vacation celebration month of August. Then the crap started hitting the fan towards the end of the month. Read my post, COVID in Italy, When Defiance Turns Deadly.
Cases were already ticking upwards at the end of August and beginning of September. France and Spain were already taking off to new daily highs. Yet, what did Italy do? Not much. If there was any time to get the horse reasonably back in the barn again, it would have been back in early September. And, there would have been solid contact tracing and quarantining for people traveling to and from the above-mentioned countries. At best, efforts were inconsistently applied. I’m afraid too many people just thought and big flare-up wouldn’t happen again.
So, here we are.
We have a new mask mandate that requires us to have a mask fully in place (no chin diapers) when out in public. The only exception is if you are in a sparsely populated area with little chance of crossing paths with another person. People can remove their masks when seated in restaurants or bars, but only when properly distanced.
Other than family households, gatherings MUST be limited to not more than six people. Plus, we’re already hearing that Christmas and New Year’s may be lockdown days.
Yes, I guess better late than ever. But, I’m pretty upset with the Italian government for not acting more decisively sooner and preventing the situation that we were ALL warned about multiple times.
How will we behave here in Italy?
Frankly, I don’t know. Just last night we looked down from our fourth-floor window to a popular bar and, as usual, people were elbow-to-elbow, most with either no mask or with one tucked under their chin. This was a clear example of this-will-never-happen-to-me, or an example of I-really-don’t-care (which is an indictment, in my opinion, of blatant disregard for the wellbeing of other people).
Meanwhile, I stay mostly inside.
I’m wearing my masks (I have several stylish designs) more and more to habituate myself to them. I have mild asthma and a bit of claustrophobia, so I’m doing what I can to desensitize myself to the panic that I sometimes feel. We’ve been vigilant in staying healthy for eight solid months now and I’m not ready to throw that away!