Updated March 13th, 2020*
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte held several press conferences announcing a national emergency imposing drastic measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) that has claimed (as of March 13th, 2020) 1,016 lives and infected 12,839 people (source). He announced "from today, Italy will be a protected area, the measures already foreseen in the red zones on March 8 will be now valid in regards to the entire whole national territory".
"We are aware of how difficult it is to change our habits. But unfortunately, there is no time. The numbers tell us of an important growth in infections, hospitalizations in intensive care and deaths. Our habits must be changed now. We must all give up something for the good of Italy, and we must do it immediately. We will take stronger measures to contain the advance of the coronavirus as much as possible and to protect the health of all citizens ", explained the premier.
These are undoubtably the most stringent rules imposed on Italy's 60 million citizens since the Second World War.
There will no longer be a “red zone” but instead the entirely of Italy has now been named a protected zone or “zona protetta” with measures to the entire country with a request to “stay home” in an attempt to contain the continued spread of the virus. The #iorestoacasa government decree was signed last night and brings the restrictions into effect until April 3rd.
Essentially movements throughout the national territory must be avoided unless they are motivated by reasons of work, necessity (grocery shopping, pharmacy) or health emergencies. Citizens are asked to STAY AT HOME unless absolutely necessary.
Guidelines include the following
- All sports events and outdoor gatherings will now be forbidden.
- The banning of all public gatherings in local squares or sites.
- All shops/stores closed except for supermarkets, Tabacchi/pharmacies/mini markets.
- If you need to travel (train, plane, car) and leave your region/comune you now need to bring this form self-declaring the necessity (health, work, emergency or returning home). If you are found to be lying regarding your reason for leaving you risk a hefty fine.
- Grocery shopping but one one member per family is allowed to go at one time and they must adhere to the 1 meter distance guidelines.
- Smart-working is strongly encouraged. Public and private employers are "recommended" to promote the use of holidays and leave. • Closure of gyms, wellness centers, swimming pools, spas, sports halls and ski resorts.
- Religious institutions will stay open provided that people stay a meter’s distance from one another. There will be no ceremonies (baptisms, funerals or weddings).
- Anyone with symptoms of respiratory infection and fever greater than 37.5 degrees centigrade is "strongly recommended" to stay home, limit social contact, and contact (but not go) to their doctor.
- All schools closed until April 3rd (students will study via remote lessons) .
- Cultural sites, museums, theaters, cinemas, nightclubs and casinos are all closed.
• The rules regarding going out "to take some air" are vague in the new decree however to our understanding (and what has been said by many local mayors around Italy) you are not allowed take a walk around the city, even for exercise. Just a quick walk around your block to let your dog do their business and for grocery shopping/pharmacy. It is in everyone's best interest if these rules are respected.
It is important to note that again, these measures are in place only until April 3rd when the situation will again be assessed. You may be asking yourself why? Well, in our personal opinion, these are vital measures put into place so that our national health system is not overwhelmed and to help halt the further spread of this virus. We will be updating this article and looking to support local businesses who are greatly affected by these measures in the coming weeks. Restaurants in cities like Florence are offering takeaway food delivery services and you can support Made-in-Italy artisans by buying their products online.
It’s worth noting that there have been small victories. Ansa.it reported from the Lombardy Health Councilor Giulio Gallera on Monday “that the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Italy, a 38-year-old man, is breathing on his own and has been transferred from the intensive care to the sub intensive care unit of the Parma hospital where he is being treated.”