Thursday, February 27, 2020

Life in Tuscany mostly normal now during Italy's Corona virus outbreak

Has life in Tuscany changed since the Corona virus outbreak in Northern Italy? I’m not in Montecarlo to observe personally, but many friends are checking in at my request.

Most of them said that after an initial period of uncertainty, there have been few changes. Some businesses are taking extra precautions to sanitize their desks and tables, and people are washing their hands more often.

Carnevale in Venezia was ended two days early because of
concerns about the virus. However, Carnevale in  the
Tuscan city of Viareggio continued as usual.

“Life proceeds normally with a few extra precautions,” Marco Lardieri said. “Some people were particularly frightened and stormed supermarkets and medical stores for masks and hand sanitizers. In Tuscany, schools have remained open even if a few families do not send their children to school out of fear.”

People continue to go shopping, visiting and dining at restaurants and coffee shops.

“In our area everything is quite normal,” Marilena Palamidessi said. “People move about as before.”

“From my point of view there are no changes,” Chiara Boldrini said. “I go to university in Florence by train and it runs on time, without problems. The panic situation was essentially created by the media, perhaps due to the lack of knowledge of the virus. Already today, in my opinion. the climate of general tension has eased.”

Matteo Bianchi, who runs a grocery store in San Salvatore, said his business has been unaffected.

Business continues as usual in the Bianchi macelleria and
grocery store in San Salvatore.
“For now, it’s all quiet,” Fausto Seghieri said. “The virus is little worse than influenza, but it’s mostly just unnecessary alarmism. Of course, there are always a few exceptions, people who worry excessively.”

Francesco Menchini said some people acted like an atomic bomb had been dropped. They rushed out to stock up on supplies. “I heard that one man in Marliana bought 4,000 euros in groceries,” he said. ‘But this was a rare case, and after some initial concern, normal life is going on.”

Gisella Paganelli said that tourism seems to have declined in Montecarlo. “I went there today during the lunch hour and it seemed deserted,” she said. However, I’ve lived in Montecarlo in February for the last four years, and that doesn’t seem particularly out of the ordinary on any given weekday in this season.
Tour guide Elena Benvenuti said that she and some of her colleagues have had a few cancellations, “some of them for July or August, which is very stupid, because by that time everything will be over.”

She said the panic shopping which took place “happened only last weekend when the news terrified people in isolated villages in Lombardia and the Veneto. Monday, normal life was back everywhere.”

Marco Lardieri pointed out that some of the publicity in Italy has been caused by extra precautions the government has taken, such as closing flights to China and testing many people.

“The high number of cases is also due to the high number of swabs that Italy made, about 5000 compared to swabs made in France (just under 300) and other European countries,” he said. “With the arrival of spring, the situation should return to normal.”

I’ll end with a comment that Salvatore Lardieri posted on his Facebook page. He pointed out that people are concerned that the bad publicity will impact businesses. “Let’s do something concrete to help,” he wrote. “Go out to eat something in these evenings . . . a plate of pasta, a steak, a pizza. We can make our contribution to the local economy by frequenting pizzerias, bars and restaurants . . . and I especially recommend, let’s drink a nice beer . . . Corona!!”

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