Sense and sensibility: don’t let down your guard

Letter from the editor

Helen Farrell
July 30, 2020 - 14:03

It’s hot, we’re weary, the lockdown and unrelenting vigilance are taking their toll, to the extent that a couple of people have bared all for showers and walks in the city centre in the last few days. Nudity aside, we cannot let down our guard. The virus is still out there, despite the recent, hotly criticized declarations by Andrea Bocelli. Italy, through its sacrifice and solidarity, has earned the world’s respect. So, please wear a mask and/or maintain physical distancing.

 

As Prime Minister Conte put it back at the end of April, “If you love Italy, keep your distance”. Given new outbreaks of Covid-19 in Spain, France, Germany and Belgium, Italy has extended the national state of emergency to October 15 so as to be able to intervene rapidly should cases spike again.

 

 

Here’s a reminder of the rules in place in Florence and Tuscany.

 

You are not legally obligated to wear a mask outdoors in public when you’re able to maintain physical distancing of 1.8 metres, which is a blessed relief now that the stifling heat is upon us. This means that donning face protection is sensible (and a legal requirement) in more crowded areas in the centre, such as on the Ponte Vecchio or under the Vasari Corridor porticos, and when lining up for a panino in via dei Neri. Wearing a mask continues to be mandatory “indoors in privately owned and public spaces that are open to the public”, according to Tuscan Region Ordinance no. 70, therefore in all shops, restaurants and bars (when you’re not seated, eating and drinking, of course), museums, galleries, and when using public transport. The same ordinance, issued on July 2, dictates that face protection does have not to be worn at outdoor cinemas and events, although physical distancing of 1.8 metres must be maintained. In short: always carry a mask with you whenever you leave the house and be prepared to pop it on whenever you come across a group of people.

 

 

The First Courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio was designed by Michelozzo in 1453 and later embellished in a Mannerist style by Giorgio Vasari on the occasion of the marriage of Francesco I de' Medici and Joanna of Austria. The main door leads out into piazza della Signoria | ph. @threemain.ml

 

 

The region is flirting with new ways to educate about Covid-19 by introducing summer-long serological tests in piazza Santo Spirito and along the coast on Friday and Saturday nights. Tuscany is also upping tests for international residents returning to the region with checks on arrival in airports and by coach. There’s also a proposal to provide free museum tickets in Florence to all those who volunteer for serological testing.

 

Stay up to date with the Tuscan Region ordinances here.

 

For further information about international travel to and from Italy, see the official Foreign Ministry website (in English) here.

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