Day 7–Where’s the Bottom?

   The development du jour was that the government made a new restriction that whenever you leave your home, you have to have filled out a form that says where you are going and why. It is called a self-certification form. Our family had good laugh that, since all cafes and restaurants are still permitted to be open from 6am-6pm, we were imagining whether we could cite as our reason, “Cappucino.”
    But then later that night, the Prime Minister made a televised announcement that new legislation had just been passed that says all cafes and restaurants, and all places of business that are service-related (shops, hair salons, etc.) are now officially closed. He said grocery stores and pharmacies are still open, and will remain so, so he advised against stock-piling. He said all government-run services such as utilities, trash, public transportation, etc., will still run. Furthermore, all people who can work from home must work from home. It is against the law to be out unnecessarily, and forbidden to socialize with people not of your domicile. He reminded us that it is a criminal offense to leave our home without our self-certification form plus legal documentation.
    This is a new low and we feel the pinch. Not being able to meet up with someone else, even if there is mutual agreement; not having most services open; these are big changes in just 24 hours.
   Add to that Ron, who’s work is here and continues on. Will he no longer go to campus? And since we don’t have wifi in our house but just use the data on our phones, but have to go to a cell phone shop to recharge our phones–if the cell phone store is closed, how will we get recharged?
    I simply wonder–have we hit the bottom? Can they restrict us any more?
    The U.S. is temporarily suspending travel to the US of those who are not citizens, and those who are but coming from Italy and like places will probably have to do a government quarantine (very different from the self-quarantine recommendation that has been going on so far, that the UD students did, and that I was imagining). So, to go to the U.S. until this is lifted would not be for personal reasons, but would be final. For us it would mean repatriation. None of Ron’s colleagues are discussing doing that. As far as I am aware, since they have work contracts to be here in Italy, they are continuing with their work remotely and virtually. Since all these restrictions are temporary–2 weeks to a month–it seems like the obvious answer is that we just stay here and ride the wave. In fact, this is not even a discussion. I do not know of any of the faculty, including Ron, making a decision whether or not to return to the U.S. It is just an assumption that we are here for the duration. The biggest consideration for me is that we are not in physical danger. As we moved here for Ron’s work and as that work continues, so I too, at least for the time being, am not asking the question whether we return to the U.S. or not. Here we are, eating our Amatriciana and Ritornello and drinking our Lavazza coffee and soaking up the sunshine and fresh air, and simply accepting and making the most of the situation.