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Italy Starts to Reopen


The long-awaited partial reopening of what is hoped will be a post-coronavirus Italy began today. Italians have been patient beyond belief in bearing with some of the strictest lockdown rules and regulations imaginable. And, though they handled things with much grace and humor – and music! – for the first five or six weeks, nerves have recently begun to fray.

Parents unused to having their children at home all day have been home-schooling or accompanying their offspring through online lessons for 8 weeks. Too often they find themselves unable to help a son or daughter with a subject they know little or nothing about. They also find they cannot take the place of their children’s best friends – their BFFs – at a time when there are no social outings, no sports, no walks to a local gelateria, no getting together to listen to music or, simply, just to be together.

People used to working in social settings or who own businesses conducive to gatherings – restaurants, coffee and snack bars, ice cream stores, hair salons and barbers, etc – to close and lay off staff and stay at home in strict confinement. No customers, no income, yet payments due on rent and utilities and business licenses.

One reads daily in the nation’s papers about government provisions such as unemployment payments, small business loans, etc, etc. but there are just as many articles outlining how individuals and businesses have yet to see a cent.

An estimated 4.4 million people returned to work today, with just a few categories of businesses re-opening. Restaurants, bars, hair salons and many other services have yet to see a green light. And when they do there will be such serious restrictions that many will question whether it is worth it to be open.

Some headlines say that if there is an increase in cases, Italy will close down again. However, I believe that a new case or cases would demand tracing. If someone goes shopping or to get take-out food or to go to church (when allowed), and a week later becomes ill, how will doctors know where that happened? Did they take a bus or taxi? Did they walk a bit to get to destination? Did they pass other people on the way? Did they stop for a take-out coffee or ice cream on the way? Did they always have a mask and gloves? Did they remove them briefly?

So many questions. I have always felt that tracing has been the weakest link in this entire chain of events.

Read more at Joan’s Rome

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