Without a doubt, COVID 19 hit Italy hard. While quick action was taken starting in January by the suspension of all flights to and from China… it was too little too late. Despite being the first country to suspend flights and run temperature checks on all international airports… the virus had already made its way into the country.
By February 6th there were three confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Italy including one Italian repatriate who had been brought back to Italy from Wuhan. By February 22nd the number of confirmed cases in Italy reached 79… This is when the government established the first lockdown in Italy that put 11 municipalities in quarantine.
Unfortunately, the virus had already spread outside of those areas and in March the numbers skyrocketed. By the 3rd of March, there were over 2500 cases of COVID 19 confirmed. On March 9th Prime Minister Conte announced that the lockdown would be extended to the entire country.
What It Looks Like Now
A few weeks after Italy went into a strict lockdown the number of deaths per day and new cases per day showed the first signs of slowing… the number of patients in intensive care units started dropping, and on the 20th of April, Italy finally started seeing the number of cases in the country start to drop.
Italy’s lockdown measures were strict and affected over 16 million people… anyone caught in violation of the lockdown faced 3 months in prison.
People were permitted to go out only in case of emergencies and essential work needs, and those cases need to be authorized by the Prefect. The wealthiest parts of the country were by all means paralyzed in what has been described as the biggest lockdown in the history of Europe and without a doubt the most aggressive lockdown outside of China.
On May 3rd the reopening of some small shops started and on May 4th this was extended to include manufacturing industries and construction sites. Schools, hairdressers, bars, and restaurants were to remain closed until May 18th. As of June 30th, schools are still closed and scheduled to reopen in September.
On June 3rd, most of Italy’s travel restrictions dropped. Residents can move freely throughout the country, including for tourism. And for international travelers, this is only for certain countries that include most of Europe, the Schengen Area, and the United Kingdom.
The Future Of Italy
Italy is still not out of the woods, there are still over 16,000 active cases and there are rules and regulations that need to be followed.
- Social Distancing – One- or two-meter distance between all people.
- Masks – When using public transportation, masks are obligatory. In small, enclosed places, such as restaurants you must wear a mask unless you have been seated. In some regions such as Lombardy, masks must be worn at all times outside of the house.
- Quarantine – Anyone with a high temperature (37.5 degrees Celsius or above) must stay at home.
- Temperature Checks – Entry of any public building requires a temperature check. Anyone with a temperature over 37.5 degrees Celsius or above may be denied access.
- In Your Vehicle – Even in your vehicle you must practice social distancing and both passengers must wear masks.
- No Gatherings – At all. No meetings, no social events, doesn’t matter if it’s indoors or outdoors.
- No Hugs or Kisses – At all. Not even family.
- No Loitering – You can’t sit around in your favorite restaurant or bar. Eat, drink, and get home.
- No Nightclubs or Movies – Cinemas and nightclubs are off-limits.
- Book Your Spot in Advance – Any place of service requires booking your spot in advance. This includes restaurants, gyms, museums, and beauty centers.
- Gloves – Recommended for regular shopping and obligatory to shop for food.
For right now, as you can see, the rules are still pretty strict and will be in place for a yet undetermined amount of time. As stated at the beginning, COVID hit Italy very hard and it may be some time before they fully recover and before life gets back to anything resembling normal in Italy.