Livorno: It’s still week one of the #italylockdown and more stringent rules have been enacted. We are allowed to leave the house — only to go to the supermarket or pharmacy, to walk dogs or to go on runs (alone).
We are also allowed to go to work if we still have jobs or cannot work from home.
Italy is sacrificing its economy for the sake of the health of its citizens. It seems likely that every other country in the world is a week or two behind us — but nobody can believe it.
Just like we didn’t.
Only a few people are allowed in each shop at a time so lines are forming outside on the street — with everyone standing far apart, patiently waiting.
If you are out you must maintain at least a one meter distance from others and carry a form justifying why you are outside — in case you are stopped by the police.
If you can’t justify why you are out, you may be fined. You are not allowed to meet any friends or family or to leave your local region. It’s all very surreal.
This quarantine is to prevent the spread of the virus, to protect the vulnerable, and to ease the strain on northern hospitals, not because every person or region or town in the country has a high number of cases.
These social distancing and quarantine measures are understood as necessary to prevent a bad situation from becoming worse and for the first time I see everyone setting aside politics or personal needs, coming together in the effort to make this really work.
We are going through something quite serious but also that we are doing it in solidarity. I see kindness and compassion in people’s eyes, not fear.
So far, the supermarkets remain stocked so there is no panic shopping or empty shelves.
When I meet other people in a parking lot or on a walk, we make eye contact, we smile, and we keep the distance between each other. The feeling is that we are going through something quite serious but also that we are doing it in solidarity. I see kindness and compassion in people’s eyes, not fear.
Across the country, people are organizing flash mobs from their windows in an effort to unite across the distance.
Last night we played our instruments together on terraces all down the street. Today we came out again to applaud Italy’s tireless doctors for all their work. I am waving and smiling to neighbours
I have never met before but with whom I now share this experience and this understanding.
The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has said we have to distance ourselves today so we can embrace each other tomorrow.
I’m really impressed by how quickly people here have unified to deal with the spread of the virus and are respecting the rules and offering each other support and solidarity.
This sacrifice can save lives and people are taking that seriously. Together, we can get through this. And I don’t just mean Italy but the whole world.
Luca and I are safe at home in Livorno and using this time to work on other things both for for tour company Unlock Italy and our own artistic projects.
If we can’t do our jobs, we can at least create something new while looking forward to a hopefully better world on the other side of this.