The lifting of restrictions will start on May 4th, with millions returning to work on that day and most shops reopening two weeks later. Bars, restaurants, hairdressers will only open on June 1 – not sure how most of these will survive another five weeks of zero activity. No religious services, and no soccer games yet but athletes can resume practice – and I bet Serie A will restart the season. But: no schools until September.
In Bolzano we have regained freedom of movement within city limits already, and as of tomorrow we can even bike anywhere! People are out and about, enjoying the wonderful spring weather while dutifully donning their masks. The numbers of new infections and the numbers of deaths have gone down dramatically (here and in the whole country), and there is a palpable sense of relief in the air. We flattened the curve. Intensive care beds are available again. I continue to limit my social visits to my parents only, and the kids stay away from friends, with a few exceptions. Might try to see friends for a stroll soon, even though the masks and the distance will really take some pleasure out of it.
The date for the end of the lockdown had been in the news for days now, so we expected to hear about strategy from the prime minister’s press conference tonight – after all, we have been hearing for months that we will need to “dance” with the virus for a long time… Alas, in a very disappointing statement he made clear is that Italy will walk into ‘Phase 2’ as unprepared as when it sleepwalked into the pandemic. We can forgive the first mistake (but we should not forget). But not this. Opening up the country after two months of lockdown without a strategy for ramping up testing, tracing and isolating, and without a plan to shelter the most vulnerable borders on criminal incompetence. Doing it without a shred of a plan on strengthening the health system for the inevitable second wave is simply irresponsible.
PM Conte didn’t say a single word to the millions of parents who will go back to work in a week while the schools will remain closed. He didn’t say a single word to the students who will miss out on months of education and socialization, and to the thousands who are not able to follow online classes.
I think the lockdown was necessary and it has saved lives. I thought the point was also to gain time to put a strategy in place for living with the virus for a long time. “Andrà tutto bene” needs more preparation to go from aspiration to reality.
We are not ready for the dance floor.