Italian life in quarantine has loosened a tiny bit! Here’s the latest of Italy’s phase two quarantine.
Italy’s quarantine has loosened a bit! Fase due (phase 2) as it’s called, has been a breath of fresh air.
Quarantine Phase Two Rules
Like any governmental decision, it’s ridiculously confusing. There’s a national decree, but with adjustments at the regional (state) and comune (city) level. Meaning: the restrictions are almost unique to each household, especially given work requirements.
There’s not even consensus on how far we’re supposed to stay from each other. It’s either one or two meters, but changes depending on too many factors to list. For example: in Milan, you can walk with a one-meter distance between each other but running together requires a two-meter distance.
More shops are being permitted to open, although we’re still a long way for many. Garden stores and bookstores have reopened. Restaurants, gelaterias, and cafes offer takeaway only. Things are slowly reawakening.
Relatives who live in the same region can now visit each other, in theory while wearing masks. We can’t see friends to socialize but we can exercise together while maintaining social distance.
My favorite change is the reopening of the weekly market. It’s definitely different: much smaller and somehow quieter. It used to meander through most of the historic part of town, while it now hardly fills the piazza. Carabinieri regulate the gated entrance, limited crowds. Where people used to cluster around each display, there are now socially-distanced lines.
Thankfully, the soul of the markets remain. Friends catch up and vendors greet their regular customers. The colors and experience remain.
Limitations on Being Outside
At its tightest in our region, we weren’t allowed to walk our dogs or be outside except to go to get food or medications. For dog owners in apartments, this meant step outside with your dog to the nearest grass patch, have them do their business, and go back inside.
It was a tough three weeks, to say the least. Thankfully, those restrictions loosened gradually. First we were allowed to walk around the block, then within our town, and now we can exercise anywhere in our region!
That specifically means we can drive within our region for exercise purposes. With family members, no less!
That may seem like a silly distinction to make. As we climbed into the car Saturday, I realized it’s the first time I’ve sat in the passenger seat of a car in over two months! Lockdown meant we couldn’t go anywhere together.
We headed straight up to the Dolomites, which was so good. We needed a change of scenery on so many levels. We opted for a less popular trail to avoid crowds also thinking of fresh air for the first weekend of freedom. On a five hour hike, we passed only ten people, all Italian.
It was glorious to get out into nature. Before phase two, I hadn’t left the apartment except for groceries in 56 days.
Our region has loosened a bit more than others on this one. In a country hit hard by coronavirus, we have relatively few cases.
What Comes Next
Life by no means feels back to normal. We still wear masks everywhere. We still fill out paperwork defining our errand each time we leave the house. “Normal” errands like groceries still feel strangely hard and stressful.
But it’s a step in the right direction.
We don’t have a clear timeline for next steps, which feels tough but appropriate. How can there be a dated plan when we don’t know how this phase of easing up will affect the numbers. Currently, there’s talk of some form of opening restaurants in June. Potentially opening up regional borders in-country sometime this summer. No whisper of international travel dates yet. That’s a strange thought when we live closer to Slovenia than Florence.
The numbers of coronavirus cases continue to improve. On Saturday, May 9, Italy had only 1,083 new cases diagnosed. Numbers haven’t been that low since March 6. It’s still a staggering number, to be sure. But we are moving in the right direction.
I’ve tried hard to not be angry in any of these posts. It seems like so many people are getting angry at others – for breaking the rules, for following the rules blindly, for believing this or that. I will only say this: this is hard. It’s still hard. It’s been hard, and we’re all tired of it being hard.
But this isn’t the time for putting the individual before the community. We heard this rally cry a bunch at the beginning of all this, but I fear that we’re losing sight of it. Even though the numbers are (thankfully) creeping down, we’re not out of this yet.
I’ve shared about this season of coronavirus and quarantine before, both at the outset and one month in. I share updates every few days on what it’s like in Italy during the lockdown on Instagram, so follow along there for more!