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Coronavirus Verona Update: The Nation-Wide Lockdown

Sara and Virginia from Romeo and Juliet Guide travel agency standing in front of the Arena

Buongiorno from a lockdown Verona today March 9th. The very hard decision to lockdown the entire country has been taken yesterday night around 9.30 pm by a very touched President Conte.

The situation was already quite serious in a big area of Northern Italy where such measures were already applied since the first cases in February 25th but this turned out to be not enough to stop the outbreak in these areas, now the lockdown is extended to all the country until April 3rd.

We are all shocked and at the same time resigned that the only way to finally stop the Virus is stay home until April 3rd and have no contacts with other people unless is extremely necessary. In some way this is truly a relief for many of us who experienced in first person the confusing informations of last weeks as at the very beginning in order not to create the panic of that 24th February in all the country (like more than 60 Million people) when it was announced the first lockdown in 10 towns in Lombardy and one town in Veneto Region and people literally emptied the Malls creating panic and drama plus surely extra contagions. Not mentioning the very regrettable behavior of running to the emergency for many already infected that cause of course even more contagious.

So after those previous panic hours in which you were undecided if wearing a proper white mask or the carnival one (it was still Carnival time specially in Verona and Venice where this very old tradition is still strong) the official communications were all more or less like this “yes use some precautions like washing your hands accurately and don’t visit crowded places but please don’t panic and keep living your life as usual” which means for school kids (remember schools are closed in all North Italy since February 25th) taking a long holiday and hanging out with large group of teenage friends in bars, playgrounds, squares, malls and every sort of crowded place available.

For fit people (a large community here) meant keep going to the gym or every other fitness center and partecipate to courses wth other 10 maybe 20 sweating people. For people like me (Tour Leader and Travel Agency owner with my business partner Virginia) belonging to the tourism business here in Verona, together with a large group of the local community such as Hotel, B&B, Airbnb Apartment owners, bars, restaurants, shops, not mentioning all museums staff included the Arena, Juliet’s House and Juliet’s Tomb keepers and ticket office as all this cultural sites have been closed since 24th February, well for all these “very interesting” people, who suddenly happened to be jobless, those more relaxing news right after the panic and the desperation for lack of job meant long drinking and chatting/complaining session in wine bars in order to pass the time we always thought we would have spent with many visitors from all over the world.

Jokes aside, during the last weeks the situation happen to become every day more serious (even if likely Verona is still like a blessed place for the very small number of cases and none of us or families and friends have been infected) that’s why I’m very glad of the decision to lockdown everything for at least 4 weeks and see what happens. It’s a tough decision and hard for all of us (already without a job) to freeze our lives for about a month but this sacrifice is absolutely necessary for people’s sake and Hospitals managing. We have to stay strong and keep our minds focused on the future of this country and on people here who are trying to heal from this insidious disease who’s attacking the most vulnerable members of our community. Only in this way we might have a chance to show the rest of the world how smart, unified and liable we really are. Alone we are a small bunch but together we are a force!

In order to give all precise information about this quarantine situation here in Italy, I’ll share the article written by Girlsgottadrink aka Valerie Quintanilla who certainly write better english than I do. Here is an abstract of her smart article about present situation in the country.

“The measures introduced in these days aim to avoid a large epidemic wave. In the case of the coronavirus we must consider the fact that Italy has an elderly population, actually much older than the Chinese one, which needs to be protected from the contagion.”

Italy’s National Health Institute. 

Can people go outside?

  • What distance should we keep from other people? Maintain at least a one-meter distance.
  • Can I go to other municipalities? Absolutely not unless the situation is of absolute necessity.
  • Can I go to work? Yes, people can go to work, though it is advised that people work from home as possible. 
  • Can I leave for health reasons? Yes, always.
  • Who absolutely must stay at home? Elderly and immunosuppressed people or those with pathologies.
  • You can travel between areas if:An urgent, proven work-related reason.
    • health reasons.
    • “Situations of need”, for example if there are no shops open in your area selling basic necessities.
    • Returning home.

What is open?

  • Can I go shopping? Yes, one person per family at a time.
  • What about pharmacies and parapharmacies? They remain open as normal. 
  • And, schools? All schools, kindergarten to universities remain closed until April 3.
  • Will mass and other religious functions continue to take place? No
  • What about medium and large sales areas? Closed on Saturday and Sundays, on other days, the manager must ensure security measures.
  • Pubs, cinemas, gyms, discos, museums, and libraries? Closed
  • Municipal offices? Almost all services are available online. Essential and urgent services are guaranteed.
  • What about events, meetings, conventions, shows? All public and private events (indoor and outdoor) are now suspended.Sporting events (including Serie A football) are also suspended.
  • All Italian ski resorts are closed.

In the short term, if you are looking for ways to support this local community

…and, grow your wine cellar we are still at work with some partners on wine and food packages and can create custom packages too. Please send all kind of request to [email protected]. I’ll get more information your way. More, support Virginia and I by reviewing and sharing your experience’s pictures on our TripAdvisor and  Google Profile.

This will extremely help us to see the light in this tough moment of our lives. Thank you so much.

Sara Valitutto

Tour Leader and Co-founder of Romeo and Juliet Guide