News from Italy, January 2021

January 26, 2021

This is not my typical post of travel experiences in Italy. This is a taste of what is happening now, how the locals are surviving and struggling and the details of what is happening in Italy.

Life in Italy is like living under war restrictions. And, because it is Italy, it’s complicated. As the entire world experiences the Covid-19 Pandemic, Italy, in my opinion, has led the Western World regarding how to handle the crisis. We in Italy have had some of the strictest rules anywhere, even including fines, and, at times, possible prison terms, for breaking those rules. And all this is happening with lovely color codes to soften the blow.

Eating in a restaurant, Luchin, enjoying Pasta with Pesto, green beans and potatoes.

In January, we added the color white to be used for areas or regions that have really conquered the covid challenge. There are 20 queries to decide which regions are in which color. Not one region managed to earn the color white.

Right now, Liguria is in the Orange category. Yellow is the best besides white, Orange means no restaurants are open, you cannot leave your commune unless it is required for work or doctor appointments, absolute necessities. You are advised to stay home and only leave the home once per day. Red is even more restrictive. They are not to leave the home if at all possible. If they exit to shop for groceries, they are encouraged to stay close to home. Nothing of note is open.

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Garibaldi statue and the fountain in a Chiavari piazza

All of Italy has a curfew. We must be in our homes by 10pm and until 5am, unless your work requires you to be outside. This was instituted months ago because too many young people were gathering outdoors at night and that helped to spread the disease because, of course, they were not wearing masks, keeping social distance, etc.

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A lovely building in Arezzo

We are allowed to have a maximum of 2 people not living in our household to visit us. They must maintain social distancing and wear masks.  Frankly, even this is not encouraged.

We are struggling with our situation. We had a few months of much more freedom in the summer. However, since August is the month that Europeans travel, especially Italy, the numbers began to climb and climb rapidly. And it was back to lockdown.

Right now, most of Italy is in the orange or red category. Our hope of the conquest of COVID and the availability of the vaccine is sinking.

From January 24th, 2021 onward, here is the regional listing of counties by color code.

(from The Local)

Red zones: Sicily, Bolzano

Orange zones: Lombardy, Sardinia, Abruzzo, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Piedmont, Puglia, Umbria and Valle D'Aosta, Calabria, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto

Yellow zones: Campania, Basilicata, Tuscany, Molise and the autonomous province of Trento

Italy is also in a state of emergency until at least 30 April 2021.  Americans are still not allowed into Italy except for work, for Italians returning home, or if your partner lives in Italy and you want to be re-united with them.

Do you see the faux cat on the faux shelf? This building is in Chiavari.

Vaccine information:

Vaccines began on 27 December 2020. The first to receive doses were the front-line workers, followed by nursing homes.

Next came:

  • those over 80 years old
  • those over 60 years old
  • onward down in ages

Our vaccine distribution has been slowed because Pfizer has notified the Italian government that it cannot meet its commitment to deliver the number of doses promised. Now, all those in the 60 to 80 age group who were supposed to vaccinated between March through June will not receive them in a timely manner. 

Even though many of you would like to travel to Italy soon, all of these things are hindering your chances of visiting. Even if you are vaccinated, it won’t open the borders to travel here in Italy if we have not gotten our numbers far enough down and our vaccines up. 

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A personal rant

Imagine my chagrin when I read a question on one of the Italy travel groups from an American who expects to arrive here in Italy at the end of the January. He wanted to know if he could arrive in Rome, remain there for 3 days, and then drive a car to Piedmont. He asked if Italy was REALLY enforcing what it says the rules are. I was aghast. 

He is arriving via a “COVID-FREE” flight. But he did not know when he had to get the COVID test. There were about 130 comments after mine and the local Italians and expats living in Italy were stating how they have been locked inside their homes for a year now and part of that is because everyone thinks they can skate by the rules of Italy. The rage was quite amazing.

We are so very tired of being in Lockdown, going along in life without being touched, hugged, cheek-kissed by others that the rage at our powerlessness is eeking out. We have watched the children suffer because they cannot go and interact with each other at school. We have watched the aged pine away alone, die alone in hospitals without the love of their families around them. We have seen good businesses close their doors forever, people without enough to eat, enough money to pay their rent. We have watched the economy crash even after all we endured from February until summer, 2020 when our COVID cases were almost non-existent. 

Please, we want you to come back to Italy. Know that. You could save businesses on the brink of collapse with your tourist dollars. Italians enjoy Americans in most situations. But whether you are American or from any other country, please respect the rules of Italy. Please do not come here until it is alright. 

A positive note

From Euronews, 14/January/2021

This mobile cuddle room is touring a province in southern Italy and offering respite to pensioners left isolated amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The inflatable installation allows retirement home residents to have contact with relatives without fear of picking up the virus. 

These elders were able to hug their families through plastic barriers and, for Italians, deprivation of touch is even more severe than in other countries. They refilled their souls. 

Thank you to all who follow my posts. Strength to all who are under COVID restrictions around the world. Let us hope for a quick ending of this nightmare and let us all be kind and respectful to one another. 

A dopo.

Ciao for now!

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