DAY 2: My surreal supermarket trip amid Italian coronavirus lockdown

Sardinia – an Italian island on lockdown

Today (Wednesday) marks the second day of the national lockdown here in Italy due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. People all over Italy are now being told not to leave home unless absolutely necessary. The only exceptions are: going to work (although most businesses have closed), going grocery shopping, or for general medical reasons.

In order to move between towns or cities it is now compulsory to download and complete a self-certification form from the Ministero dell’Interno, or Ministry of Interior Affairs, stating the reasons for travel. This must also be accompanied by an identity document.

Although some have stated that this is a heavy-handed tactic, it is part of new measures passed ideally to stop, or at least slow, the spread of the Coronavirus among the Italian population.  Police are now strictly enforcing checks on roads, in train stations, and in airports. Anyone stopped without a justified reason for travelling can be arrested, and they risk a fine of up to €206, or 3 months in prison.

As Sardinia already has 35 confirmed cases of Coronavirus as of today, the regional government are taking no risks. On a local level, in our small town of Decimomannu (20 kilometres away from Cagliari with a population of around 8,000), people are taking things seriously.

Following advice from radio and television broadcasts we decided to plan our food shopping to cover us for at least two weeks, in order to avoid leaving the house to go to the large supermarkets every couple of days. Of course, we can still go to small local shops if needed for fresh fruit and vegetables, just following the simple precautions, and avoiding crowded places.

Needless to say, our trip to our local supermarket today was a surreal one. As soon as we entered, we were struck immediately by the number of signs posted everywhere reminding customers to keep at least one metre distance from others. Also, most staff and a large majority of customers were wearing full face masks and disposable gloves.

Music playing in the background was constantly interrupted to advise shoppers to stay at least one metre from others, to cover sneezes and coughs, and to avoid touching their faces.

According to staff, they had been visited by the police and were instructed to limit the amount of people in the supermarket at any one time. The usually cheerful staff seemed more silent and on edge, a feeling which is completely understandable given the amount of people they come into contact with on a daily basis.

Apart from the obvious changes however, everything else was business as usual. Shelves were being stocked as normal, and customers seemed to be just getting on with their day.

When we left the supermarket, we saw a queue of about 8 people waiting to enter. From what we could see everyone was calm and patient. It seems that on a local level, everyone is making the necessary changes and working together to avoid putting themselves and others at risk.

Now our shopping is over and done with, we’re waiting to find out whether or not we’ll soon work from home. In the meantime, it’s a perfect chance to switch off the news, put procrastination aside, and try our hand at cooking some traditional Irish dishes from back home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.