As the coronavirus continues to make its presence felt in the United States where yours truly is currently located — thankfully, not so much here in the county where I live — many folks are forecasting that Americans can look to Italy as to what we can possibly expect.
And because we are a blog that covers a team in Italy, it only felt right to try and get some first-hand experiences of a few Juve fans who are currently in lockdown in the country along with a lot of our favorite players. (Although, not actually with them, as much as that might be an enjoyable to experience during these trying times.)
Luckily, when I put out the call on Twitter for any potential BWRAO followers who are currently in self-isolation in Italy, we got a couple of very quick responses.
Everybody, say hello to Andrea and Jose.
Andrea lives in Pordenone, which is about an hour north of Venice by car. Jose, meanwhile, is a native of Honduras lives in a city that we are all rather familiar with: Turin, where he attends the University of Turin. Both of these young fellas have been locked down in their respective homes for two weeks now, with the coronavirus crisis in the country showing little signs of slowing down as we head toward the final days of March.
I want to thank them for reaching out and helping with this post. There’s much more important things than answering a few questions for me in the world right now — especially where they both currently live — but they did it anyway.
So, with all that said, here is what a few BWRAO readers based in Italy have experienced over the last few weeks.
BWRAO: First and foremost, thank you both for reaching out. I hope you both are staying safe. The easy one right out of the gate: What have the last couple of weeks been like with the country you live in being locked down?
Andrea: There is a surreal atmosphere, and the whole country has stopped. The silence is deafening sometimes; I almost miss hearing the traffic noise. I’ve definitely never had such a strange experience in my life. Get ready in the U.S. because staying at home is the only way to get through this virus.
Jose: It has been a really weird couple of weeks — mostly because we had something like a big mentality change, and I say “we” because I think all of Italy has, at the beginning we all collectively thought nothing of the virus but as time went by we all realized the severity of the situation. As a university student, I feel obliged to say that the response from university has bee.n spectacular in being able to set up online courses and services having almost no warning before hand. I did not isolate myself beforehand, but as most of the people avoided crowded places around a week before.
BWRAO: How long have you been staying inside for during the pandemic? Did you start isolating yourself before the government shut Italy down?
Andrea: The start of the quarantine throughout Italy was on March 10, and had I self-isolated myself a few days before when as a precaution I gave up a trip to London scheduled for March 7. So it’s been about two weeks that i’m locked in my house.
Jose: I have been following the lockdown completely. At the beginning, I used to go on bike rides or jogging, but that is now not permitted since a couple of days ago. Now, besides a grocery trip, which is around once a week, I have not gone out at all.
BWRAO: How strict have the local authorities been with enforcing the lockdown and shelter-in-place rules?
Andrea: The local authorities have certainly strengthened the controls, and speaking of my city I can say that their presence is perceived. They began to go through the street with speakers, inviting the population not to leave their home if not out of necessity. Also, there are checks in and out of the city and only those who have a certificate with a valid reason (for work, for example) can move.
Jose: When speaking about how strict the authorities have been, I think it’s safe to say it’s different for every region. The local authorities in Torino have been gradually acting more severe as days have passed (and also new regulations), two of my flatmates have been stopped and questioned on their way to the supermarket. I live near the central train station and can say there is way more police than normal in the streets. And as i was recently informed, police and military in the street can stop you to take you body temperature (mostly in front of supermarkets and pharmacies).
BWRAO: What have been doing to try and pass the time?
Andrea: Fortunately I have online university lessons to follow that keep me busy enough. The rest of the time I read books, watch movies or TV shows, call or hear some friends. Even if, there are occasionally moments of absolute boredom.
Jose: I am currently taking online courses, some video games, a couple of puzzles, and also started cooking/baking (not everything comes as it should lol) some days do feel longer than others.
BWRAO: How many days did it take you to go a little stir crazy?
Andrea: I’d say five or six days. The mockery is that in these days there is also excellent weather, and they would be days to spend totally in the open air, going around and enjoying barbecue!
Jose: I’m actually a firm believer that everyone is a little bit crazy, but I can say the second week is the hardest. I would compare it to your second day at the gym when you body is telling you not to do it but you just have to work yourself trough it. It’s certainly harder for people who live alone.
BWRAO: How many of the balcony concerts that we’ve been seeing on Twitter and Facebook have you taken part in?
Andrea: Unfortunately in my area there were no real balcony concerts, so I didn’t take part in any of these events. However, I put loud music out the window every day.
Jose: I have nor participated nor seen one, but have heard it in the distance a couple of times.
BWRAO: How much do you miss watching Juventus?
Andrea: I miss Juventus so f——ing much. To think that the last game played, against historical rivals, was one of the best games of the season, in a surreally empty stadium with Dybala making one of the best goals of the year leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. I hope they can return to play soon, but health always comes first.
Jose: It’s actually one of the things I miss the most, especially after beating Inter when we got back on top of the Serie A. I was really confident for the Champions League match against Lyon, I do believe that it would be a great distraction for people to have something like football to look up to, but I can say I completely agree with the decision to suspend all activities.