Another update from Cortona under quarantine, late April – mid May.
Via Nazionale, a.k.a. the “Rugapiana”, at 7:00 pm on April 29, 2020. Those of you who know Cortona will recognize how strange this sight is.
There is much concern about how many businesses Cortona will lose.
Many businesses that were popular with tourists are advertising home delivery, but… there are no tourists.
This announcment for a masquerade dinner and parade has been hanging here since Carnevale… perhaps because the owner of the announcement board is enjoying the irony. The word “mascherina” in Italian means both a costume mask, and a medical mask of the type we are all required to wear now.
Piazza della Repubblica, 7:15 pm on April 29, 2020.
Marco and Roberto in front of their shop. They, and the Molesini family, have worked exceptionally hard to keep the city provided with groceries while following the constantly changing national guidelines. For example, shops must now require clients to sanitize their hands with gel before entering. Molesini has made a hand-sanitizing station out of a carved wooden turtle stool, and Roberto has attached a pump-holder directly to the doorframe of his shop.
Bar Sport / Caffè Vittoria has been closed since March 11.
The toy shop, with uncollected mail inside its gate.
Piazza Signorelli, deserted.
The MAEC museum, closed. However, we have news that next Monday, May 18, museums in Italy will be allowed to reopen.
The movie theatre’s poster box carries a notice of the suspension of its activities. Movie theatres were among the first services to be shut down in March.
Piazza Croce del Travaglio
The paneficio has remained open, but a multitude of signs on the door lay out the rules for entry: masks, hand sanitizer, one person at a time, maintain distance of 1,8 meters.
All bars and restaurants in Italy have been closed since March 11.
Everywhere in town, the Italian flag flies proudly to signify solidarity with the nation during the crisis.
There is so little traffic on Cortona’s streets, the grass has been able to grow between the paving stones.
The health crisis has meant the suspension of routine maintenance by the Comune. The warmer temperatures and rainshowers of spring have turned the city streets into greenways.
To protect children and parents, all the public parks are closed. To enforce this idea, playground equipment has been swathed in red-and-white hazard tape.
The “andrà tutto bene” drawings by children continue to be spotted throughout Cortona.
Several times a week, just after dawn, city maintenance vehicles spray down the streets with a chemical disinfectant. I’m not convinced that one can contract COVID-19 off of an infrequently-traveled cobblestone street, but if it makes people feel safer, ok.
Waiting in line to enter the supermarket in Camucia – masks on, 1,8 meters between customers, only one person per family. Gloves are issued at the door; even if you bring your own, you must put a fresh pair over them. After all, you could have been wiping your nose with those old gloves.
Stores must provide, if possible, separate entrances and exits, so that customers don’t cross paths at the threshhold. Consequently, businesses have come up with some creative solutions for directing traffic. Oh, and don’t forget to sanitize your hands.
It has become the norm to see about ten pieces of paper taped to every door, filled with instructions and rules.
Everyone is hopeful that this current “Phase Two”, which continues next Monday, May 18th with the opening of more retail stores, as well as bars and restaurants, will not bring a second wave of infections. The gradual reopening, with lots of rules and precautions, will next bring gyms and hairdressers back to work… IF the rate of infection stays down. Then, in early June, we may be allowed to travel outside our region again.