Sharp Monica

An honest voice in Italian paradise.

Update from Italy: Family But Not Friends Allowed

Unattributed, but making the rounds on Italian social media. Hilarious. I wish I knew who to credit.

May 4 has been billed as a big letdown. “So nothing has changed,” people say. “It’s all the same.” Yes, except for WALKS OUTSIDE. I guess that is less of a big deal to some people! Yes, we will wear little masks, and carry permission slips, but we will be able to go outside and see green things and breathe fresh air! To me, this sounds nothing short of glorious.

Italy, like many locales, is trying to manage the social bubble to mitigate contact. Contactless takeaway food. No dining in. No playgrounds, no milling in a crowd. I do think the polizia will be out watching and issuing fines, and warnings, to people who transgress in public. Importantly, however, is that you CAN see your (immediate?) family. You will be able to see your family members, observing safe distance, hygiene, and masked. Of course a polizotto is not going to be in the house, checking on things.

It’s not going to be easy for people who are single and living alone. Might Italy permit them to designate a ‘social bubble’ that then designates them reciprocally? I know a lot of people in this situation and I feel concern.

The rather wry Italian assessment of who constitutes family: Who can I go see?

Husband/wife – YES

Grandparents – YES

Aunt and uncle – WHO CARES

Boyfriend/girlfriend – NO

Friend with benefits (G-rated translation) – NO

Parents – YES

Yeast mother – NO

Motherboard – NO

Father Christmas – NO


I am still laughing about this whimsical jot. I love the scribbles and images. A moment of desperation, clarity, and black humour. Heavenly Father!

Anyway, for people like us, the bubble-enlarging decree of May 4 enlarges no bubble of ours. We are the only people to whom we are related by blood in Italy, so …. nope, no visits. No going to friends’ places. It does help a lot of nonni italiani who have been alone and afraid and very much missing their families, so I am very glad for them to reunite.

On a concerning side note, Germany’s RO (contagion index) has increased from 0.7 two weeks ago back up to 0.96 and 1.0 today. Problematic, given their reopening. Make note of this. Article here in Italian. The fact of the matter is, we are all in uncharted territory, so would do well to look around at what is happening in other countries from now until science turns a corner for us. Given this news out of Germany, I feel very realistic about how the two weeks between May 4 and May 18 might go for Italy. The Italian government is phasing reopening in two-week increments to gauge, assess, and adjust the policy response to the public health chart.

Well, in any case, on May 4, I will be going on a long, long walk, and for as many days thereafter as I can do it. I know I have mentioned this a number of times. I hope my cardio health can handle it. Like those fat people on the spaceship in Wall*E, it is possible that I may have lost some bone density in the intervening weeks of this journey.

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