Italy Opens Up (Just a Tad)

And we savor small but limited freedoms.

Italy opens up by allowing us now to leave our abodes for long walks, a jog, or exercise. While doing so, we must stay the required two meters away from other peoples. And masks are required in most outdoor situations.

“Italians must wear face masks on public transportation and in public spaces but will now be able to leave their region for health reasons, work, or to return to a residence.”—Euronews.com, May 5, 2020

Aside from the above, what movements we do make must be within our comune. Residents can travel within their regions with clearly defined restrictions.

“As well as to go to work, buy necessities, for health emergencies or exercising, you are now allowed to travel within your own region to visit relatives (defined as spouses, partners, parents, children, in-laws, siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and cousins’ children – but not friends).”—thelocal.it, May 4, 2020

Even though Italy opens up, we still need a permission slip to go out.

Yes, the police and carabinieri are still out checking on people, and you’d better have this form filled out. You can download the form here, just updated for Phase 2. Many people head outside without a form. My advice? Respect the enormous task that law enforcement has and don’t frustrate their efforts by asking to fill out a form on the spot.

You DO need a legitimate reason, as specified by law. Residents may be asked to show proof of their essential tasks. That means hanging onto your dated receipts or doctor’s notes.

Fines of up to €3,000 can be levied. This is still serious stuff.

Italy’s curves reach new lows.

Grazie Dio! I wouldn’t feel comfortable heading out during this pandemic if this wasn’t the case. Take a look at Italy’s infection and fatality curves at worldometers.info. You can see for yourself that, just in the last couple of days, we have entered lows not seen since mid-March. But, as Italy opens up, I urge people to remember that in mid-March, Covid-19 was starting to take off like a racehorse. It could again if people are too lax and take for granted the extensive efforts it took to acheive these kinds of results. Italy already has been devastated by this crisis. I’m afraid of what a second round would do.

Italy opens up but reminds people to stay at home.

As Italy opens up, an important message here in Treviso.

Yesterday (Monday, Mary 4) we took a long glorious walk to Contarina, our city’s waste management office. Our official reason? To procure the required garbage bags for compostable and non-compostable trash. You enter an official card containing your codice fiscal in a handy dandy type of vending machine. You choose your allotted number of bags and they drop into the tray. Easy peasy.

Along our journey, which was through the city center of Treviso, we had a good glimpse of how Phase 2 is manifesting. Just outside Porta San Tomaso we saw the above sign. Translated, I believe it contains a crucial cautionary reminder:

“STAY AT HOME.  Don’t take yourself out because you are bored or because you think you are cleverer than other people, but only for proven needs, taking care of yourself, your loved ones, and the community.”

Italy Opens Up just in time for abundant spring produce.

Savoring simple freedoms with the relaxed restrictions.

During the three-mile roundtrip yesterday morning, my body sang, “Thank you!” at almost every step. I hadn’t moved like that in almost two months. The experience left me marveling at how asleep I am to these daily things. I remind myself to not take such a simple thing for granted and not to think of it as only a means to an end.

On our way home, we stopped at a fresh market. I’ve been worried about the farmers and vendors and what they’ve been doing with their bountiful spring crops. A large handsome bunch of asparagus called out my name, and I made a purchase. Normally,  this scene would have people, elbow-to-elbow, viewing and purchasing produce. Not on this day, and not for days to come as Italy opens up gradually.

We’re happy to know that in Phase 2 more restaurants are open for takeout. We’re eager to see if our favorites will be taking part. We’re both excellent cooks, and we’ve been eating well (probably too well). But, we’re keen for local specialties and we’re eager to support local businesses in any way we can. I can only imagine the uphill climb it will be for many businesses trying to get their footing again.

Italy Opens Up and I find spectacular fresh asparagus at the market.Italy opens up and people patiently wait their turns at a panificio artiginale.

As Italy opens up, dangerous behaviors emerge.

I’m not going to linger on this point too long because my blood pressure surely will head north if I do. But I feel compelled to point out the biggest risk as Italy opens up: people who believe that they know better. Ninety percent of Italian residents can be acting responsibly and complying with the designated guardrails. But the issue can be with the ten percent that think they are cleverer and somehow immune to risks. Many of these people also think, because they feel well, they’re not a danger to others. I won’t go into this again, but the facts have been piling up for some time now about asymptomatic carriers. Many infectious disease specialists attribute this very thing to being the gasoline that helped ignite the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, during our outing, many people came close to us, too close for my comfort. Some of those people had a facemask dangling from one ear, of tucked under their chins. They might as well have a sign around their necks saying, “This is a waste of time.” It’s as though they were complying partially with the law and could yank their masks up into position if law enforcement showed up. GRRRRR!!!

Here’s a disturbing example from our outing yesterday: In Treviso’s main piazza a man passed us on a bike. He was smoking and leaving us in the wake of his smoke and fumes. He had a mask strapped around his neck. As it turns out, this was the same man who was inviting an altercation in the queue at our grocery store two days before. The man was puffing away amidst the people waiting outside and when asked by another man to please smoke a good distance away from other people, the smoker drew up his chest and got in the other man’s face. Thankfully, he eventually backed down.

I share this example to illustrate how some people consider their freedoms as above the law and above the well-being of other people. So, I hope our law enforcement will be on the lookout for similar behaviors and act accordingly.

Two more weeks, and then we’ll see.

As of now, we expect Phase 3 starting May 18. We don’t know exactly what that will entail, but Conte, our Prime Minister, has made it clear that current trends in Italy’s curves must be maintained. During this crucial two-week period, regions will be monitored carefully and daily for any upticks in new cases. Conte has warned the populace that the country will return to greater restrictions if people defy the orders and infections increase. Let’s hope and pray people behave and Italy opens up and doesn’t close down again.

By |2020-05-05T15:14:00+02:00May 5th, 2020|Healthcare in Italy, Italian Art, Living in Italy, My Life in Italy|8 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!

8 Comments

  1. Chip Meeks May 5, 2020 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    Jed, up here we actually had a 23% increase after the initial “relaxing”,however, today, the Bavarian President announced bascially the reopening of everything by early June. Biergartens (which I love and miss dearly) will reopen on the 18th. These tables of cement and wood are anchored deep in the ground and how they’ll efffect social distancing will be an effort that I’m interested to see. Everyone wears masks when inside stores, pharamcies, (today I was in the hospital, with my bandana and they gave me a mask, not fully convinced of my Bandito protection) basically everwhere. Some stores even insist that you take a shopping cart (often with disinfectant and wipes available, but not always) to assit in the 2 meter rule, Good deal, on the green asparagus, I’ve had it wrapped in bacon several times over the past month. Missing the white with proscuitto and hollandaise sauce! Keep taking care my man!-Chip

    • Jed May 9, 2020 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      Ciao Chip! I hope things are looking better up your way and that the biergartens have already welcomed you back safely. We live in unprecedented times. A day at a time, right? Stay safe. Always good to hear from you! jed

  2. Steve Olofson May 5, 2020 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Hello Jed! Thank you so much for your insightful and informative posts concerning the present situation in Italy. My wife Sara and I live in Ilinois but also have a small apartment in Umbria. Sara has posted here on your site in response to your very helpful advice on obtaining residency in Italy which successfully guided us to acquire it. We rely on your posts for honest up-to-date information since news here about Italy is often sporatic and sparse. We have stayed in touch with our friends and neighbors in Umbria and needless to say, we are quite eager to get back. Are you aware of any information regarding international flights arriving in Italy (Rome) beginning in June? Our May flight on Lufthansa from Chicago was cancelled – we were only offered itineraries which included long hours in the airports with two or more stops so we are instead looking at the possibility of arriving in June. Are you aware of any manditory testing or quarantining that we would be required to do if we are allowed to enter? We would gladly do whatever is needed. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all you do! And take care and stay healthy.

    • Jed May 5, 2020 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Steve, I wish I could give you a good answer on this but even we’re in the dark pretty much about what international travel will entail come June. I suspect that we’ll see things opening up even more and travel picking up, starting on May 18, provided we continue in the current direction of waning new infections. But, I just don’t know, and I’ve even asked people who work out of Venice airport. I would speak with your airline since they will be on the hook for flying you back at their expense if there are any issues that they haven’t communicated to you. I haven’t heard of any required periods of quarantine for people from the States. We do have a friend who returned from France to be with her parents in northern Italy and she WAS required to be in a two-week at-home quarantine. But, that was a few weeks ago. I’ll let you know if I learn anything new. Safe travels!

  3. angela paladino May 5, 2020 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Hi Jed. Its so good to hear what’s happening first hand in your home city. Thanks for staying in touch. I appreciate you very much. ~ a

    • Jed May 5, 2020 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      I’m always happy to share, my friend! I’ll keep you updated as things continue to unfold! Hope you are well!

  4. Richard Devost May 5, 2020 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    Ciao Jed I am so appreciative of your blog and have followed you throughout the lockdown. I do have a question and hope that you can help. I am locked down in Canada awaiting the day our airlines are back in the sky and I headed to FCO and on my way home to Sarnano. My question is regarding the travel form. Does my travel start from FCO or from Canada? I do understand that once I land in Rome in June that I may be required to go into quarantine for two weeks. I will therefore drive my rental vehicle from Rome directly to my home in Sarnano with no stops. I just want to make certain that this form is filled out properly should I have to present it during my 3 hour drive. Any help that you could give or a n example of the form correctly filled in would be greatly appreciated.
    I look forward to being back in Italy and I was very happy to read today’s blog with all its positive points and progress moving forward.
    I wish you and those closest to you all the very best.

    Richard

    • Jed May 5, 2020 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Ciao Richard, I’m glad you’ve liked my blog posts. I wish I had a good answer to your question, but we’re still waiting to get clarification on travel within Italy and the EU when restrictions are lifted further, hopefully on May 18 (if all goes well). I have connections with people who work at Venice airport but even they’re in the dark for now. I think your best bet is to contact your airline since they are responsible for having the latest and greatest information in order to ensure that you can travel and arrive without issue. Otherwise, they can be on the hook for getting your back to Canada. If your travel is in June or later, I think you’ll find that it won’t be the mess or problem that it is currently. Still, that’s just my guess! For me, I’ve come to accept that I’m not heading back to visit family in the States for a long, long time. I can’t risk being stuck there for any reason. Hopefully, things will become much clearer soon! My best, Jed

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