This week Trieste, along with the rest of Italy, has begun a nearly full easing of the restrictions that have been in place for the last 10 weeks in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
I ventured out yesterday, partly out of curiosity, mostly because I had some errands to run, but also to support local businesses in my neighborhood (please, last remaining Mase’, don’t close!).
To be honest, my take is that to ease into the reopening of our lives, our economy and our city is VITAL to our survival (economic, psychological and otherwise), I also think the next 4-6weeks will tell us how good we are at following instructions and obeying rules.
On Monday, taking advantage of the easing of the restrictions thanks to the new ordinance that went into effect, I decided to go into town. I went into shops where there was hand sanitizer on the counter, the salespeople wore gloves and masks and distancing was respected but, to be honest, that was just one store and it was like hitting the trifecta.
In most cases, people and storeowners were pretty lax. Only one glove on, mask covering mouth but not nose, some completely without masks, and people not respecting the distancing in stores or on the street.
I think that for many, there is an urgency to get back to normal. Some complained it had taken too long to reopen and that the “government was trying to brainwash us”. Others still said the regulations were so strict as to limit their ability to conduct business normally, to the point of not making it worthwhile for them to reopen.
The new rules also simply make it hard to interact with others in general. Store owners need to be solicitous and people here like to chat or ciaccolare, the restrictions in place, while necessary, inhibit the innate nature of Italians and Triestini which is very informal and chummy.
On my part, I found myself asking “permesso?” (may I?) before entering any store and not only maintining my distance, but also not handling or touching anything unless instructed to do so.
The new ordinance signed over the weekend by the governor of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Massimiliano Fedriga, effective since Monday May 18th and valid until Wednesday June 3, outlines the following do’s and dont’s:
Masks: It is mandatory for everyone to wear a mask or protection covering the nose and mouth while keeping at least 1 meter distance from others.
exemptions: when driving cars or motorbikes (if they have passengers then masks are required), children under six years of age, people with disabilities not compatible with continuous use of the mask, those who are in premises not open to the public, those who carry out physical activity or sport in an isolated place.
Self-certification and travel in the FVG region: It will no longer be necessary to carry self-certifications withing the Region.
Inter-regional travel: is not yet permitted unless required for medical or essential reasons that must be justified with a certificate, but that restriction is expected to be lifted on June 3.
Travel to and from Veneto: The citizens of Friuli Venezia Giulia who live in the municipalities bordering the Veneto region will be allowed to travel to neighboring Veneto provinces for visits with relatives.
Gatherings: Any gathering between non-cohabitants in private and public property is prohibited, but private meetings such as condominium and corporate assemblies or association councils are permitted.
Sports/Exercise: Group exercise and sports activities are also permitted, including in sports centers as long as they are in compliance with the guidelines.
Businesses that can reopen: The ordinance allows, in compliance with the specific protocols, the resumption of the following business activities:
- retail trade (including markets, fairs and markets for hobbyists)
- tourist activities (swimming at designated “beach resorts” )
- hotels and lodgings
- personal services (hairdressers and beauticians)
- offices normally open to the public
- swimming pools & gyms
- garden and park maintenance
- museums, archives and libraries
- In commercial establishments, in addition to use of facial coverings, it is mandatory that sanitizing solutions be provided and used and that in food shops, also disposable gloves are required.
- non-school or professional education activities will be allowed, such as sports and recreational courses, art schools, acting, music, popular universities, language schools ; driving schools.
- The activities of commercial agencies and real estate agencies are also permitted
- theater productions and zoological parks, botanical gardens and nature reserves.
There are some things on this list that make me scratch my head, for example gyms and personal care centers. In the end, it should be up to each of us to choose wisely what kind of exposure and risk we want to take and to also be vigilant about following the guidelines.
So here’s to all of us! Good luck, follow good practices and observe the guidelines set out by the government, practice good common sense and listen to the Science out there!