Our story about what it’s like living in Italy amid Shelter in Place (aka lockdown) & quarantine conditions, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.  

We are Rick & Andrea, 2 Canadians currently living in Italy amid this quarantine and lockdown condition. 

Background on the Covid-19 Coronavirus Emergency in Italy

On March 7, 2020, the Italian PM issued a lockdown decree, essentially forcing 16+ Million citizens into a forced quarantine AKA Shelter in Place.  Then, on March 10, 2020, the PM extended the lockdown to everyone in the country and created further restrictions on movement. Notably, Italy has become the first country in the world to introduce full lockdown and quarantine conditions. 

Our story talks about what it’s like living quarantined or locked-down due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus.  Indeed, some folks call it Shelter in Place.  Hopefully, you will find this story valuable and share it throughout social media.  We promise to try and not make it too gloomy. Also, we will be sure to point out the surprises as well.

Indeed, this is our live developing story, so be sure to check back often for updates!  And of course, please feel free to share this on social media, and please, do leave comments below!

March 21, 2020 – Week Two Finished

Good morning friends!  First, I have to say, I’m a little lazy today.  Indeed, showering can wait a little while.  I mean, we’re here showing you what it’s like living under lockdown.  And, with little activity, who cares right?  It doesn’t get any more real!  Second, we wanted to thank everyone for the kind words and keep up with our videos.

Beware of Fake News

Yes, folks, even I got the wool pulled over my eyes.  For example, yesterday, I posted about how nature is already changing.  And, I happily displayed a tweet (shown below) about dolphins returning to Venice.  To be sure, the dolphin video was filmed in Southern Sardinia, where dolphins are known to swim.  Also, what about the swans in Burano?  Totally normal.  And the crystal clear waters of Venice?  Well, they are clear because the boats are not shifting the sand around.

With that, please remember.  If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Do your homework.  Get your news from reliable sources (WHO, CDC, your local Government etc).  So, if you see something on twitter or facebook that looks amazing, try and confirm it elsewhere.

Fake News Spreads in Italy amid covid-19 coronavirus lockdown

Keeping Busy During the Covid-19 Lockdown

We went out on social media and asked what you all will be doing locked down this weekend.  We got lots of fun answers.  Someone even said they expect a baby boom in 9 months’ time.  Indeed, Andrea thinks there may be a divorce backlog as well.

Lately, Andrea and I have been experimenting with new recipes.  Andrea’s favorite new recipe thus far was his baked macaroni.  And mine?  Making Gnocco Fritto of course!

Visit a Virtual Museum

In case you run out of ideas, why not check out Google’s Arts & Culture project?  Here, you can visit some of the neatest places on earth, from your phone, tablet, or computer.  Indeed, this can be a fun distraction if you run out of other things to do.

March 20, 2020 – Day 13

Good morning!  The sun is shining, and the radio is still playing our favorite music.  Also, we just recorded our latest video.  Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out.  Indeed, this experience is teaching us that we are all one big family.

Further, it has dawned on us that perhaps this experience is sort of like mother nature’s way of pressing the reset button on the earth.  Also, I decided to go out and see if anyone has reported it.  Low and behold, there are many articles about the earth having less pollution due to the new shelter in place (aka lockdown or quarantine) measures due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus.  For example, the BBC has reported exactly this.

Plan B: Covid-19 Coronavirus Shelter In Place (Lockdown) Orders

On March 19, 2020, the Italian government released its latest statistics on the caseload.  As I’ve said many times, the most important figure to me, and at this time, is the number of new Covid-19 cases in Italy.  Sure, if there were a cure (And there’s lots of testing going on), new cases would be irrelevant, but, until that time comes, I believe we must focus on daily new cases.  Sadly, we had 4480 new cases on March 19, up from 2648 the day before.  Indeed, this represents a near 70% increase in the daily new cases, after the 5 previous days in the 2400-2900 a day range.

March 19 - Italy - Daily New Cases Covid-19 Coronavirus
Source: worldometers.info

As a result, we understand that stricter measures are likely on the way.  To be sure, we need a plan B.  The one that would hurt the most is if we were no longer able to visit with Andrea’s parents.  As a result, if this new measure comes down, we are ready to move in with them.  To be sure, it won’t be easy.  But, this will be a temporary sacrifice we’ll have to make, and we will do so happily, even if it means having to give up a little privacy.

March 19, 2020

Good afternoon everyone.  Apologies for the late entry.  Indeed, we went to buy some food at the store.  We thought that we would beat the line by going early.  Unfortunately, we were wrong, as you can see.  At last, everyone was standing about 2 meters apart.  Surely, that was a good thing.

Unfortunately, at that time, we learned about the latest new shelter in place restriction: only one person can shop at the same time.  This time, however, they let me through anyway.  The next time, however, I’ll stay home.  Also, I should note that we also ordered Andrea’s mum to stay home while we pick up her order.  This, my friends, is no easy task.  But, this time at least, we won.

People lining up to enter the supermarket in italy amid the covid-19 coronavirus emergency with lockdown and shelter in place orders

Today’s Food Preparations

After we got home, I started preparing lunch, and Saturday’s dinner (Yes, two days in advance).  For lunch, I prepared a beautiful fresh herb salad, with balsamic vinegar.  As a side, I soft boiled a couple of eggs and warmed up some pork steak.  And for dessert, we each had an Orange.  For those who calorie count, it was about a 600 kcal lunch.  Here’s a picture of the aftermath.  Too bad I didn’t get a shot of today’s lunch.

If you’re wondering why we are eating little, it’s just because we gained a little weight last year.  As a result, we started our diet once we got home from Antarctica.  Indeed, this diet is wonderful.  As of today, I’ve lost 5kg, or just over 10lbs.  Yay me!  Of course, I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone.

Rick Finishing lunch, living Locked Down in Italy amid shelter in place orders due to the covid-19 coronavirus
Could be worse!

Saturday Nights Dinner

I did, however, get a shot of Saturday night’s dinner:  Braised pork roast.  I prepared it by adding some amazing olive oil, rosemary from our garden, local garlic, and salt.  Then, I put everything in a vacuum bag, and vacuum packed it.  Admittedly, I really like to marinate food in this way, as it becomes super flavorful, even after the cooking process.  In case you are wondering, the roast is about 1.5kg (uncooked), and I’ll cook it low and slow to around 62C / 145F (Internal temp).

Saturday Night's Dinner: Coppa Roast

After lunch, I relaxed for a little while and watched some Discovery channel.  Indeed, these days, I’ve been watching a lot more TV than I’m used too.  But hey, if it’s for the greater good, why not right?

Afternoon Physical Activity After Further Shelter In Place Restrictions

After that, Andrea and I walked around our complex.  Since we cannot walk in the park, or pretty much anywhere outside our property, we figured we’d just walk around our complex.  And, we weren’t the only ones.  Also, we shot some footage of our walk which we will update later.  Actually, it kind of felt like walking the deck of a cruise ship.  We did 6 laps, which was about 6000 steps.  Tomorrow, we will do more.

Fun Distractions During this Covid-19 Coronavirus Emergency – Italy Style!

Tomorrow, we have something fun to look forward too.  3 other groups of friends, and us, will do a Whatsapp video group call.  We tried it out yesterday, and it worked like a charm.  So, on Friday night, we will get our tripod out, and a bottle of bubbles.  For sure, we will open our favorite wine, Rose de Noir. Unfortunately, we are on our last bottle.  If anyone wants to send us some, we could perhaps do the same video chat together, with a glass of wine.

Day 12 Video, Quarantined in Italy: New Restrictions

Today’s video was easy to do.  We had lots of questions from everyone which made it fun.

I think the most important take away from today is to support your local business during this difficult time.  For example, earlier in this experience, we were visiting our local market to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.  Unfortunately, now that’s closed – only the large food stores remain.  But, we can still order in from restaurants. For example, last week, we ordered pizza from a local, mom and pop shop.  It was delicious!

Tomorrow’s video will look at the Covid-19 Coronavirus statistics, after 13 days of lockdown.  To be sure, there are definitely some pain points still, but there is also much positivity.  If you have any questions, please contact us, and we might answer you in our next video!

March 18, 2020

Good morning everyone!  The sun is shining, the radio is still playing music, and life continues.  This morning, we recorded our longest video to date.  Indeed, the daily videos are becoming easier to complete.   Also, this social experiment we started a week and a half ago is one of the highlights of our day.  And happily, we seem to be making some waves with this story.

In other news, on our way to Andrea’s parents yesterday, we witnessed something truly odd.  The local park was completely empty.  Indeed, the Covid-19 Coronavirus emergency is a strange time here in Italy.  Sadly, I think it’s a sign that will propagate throughout the world.

a deserted park at noon, after quarantine lockdown shelter in place

Common Questions We’ve Been Getting

Some folks have been asking us:

  • What do Italians wish they should have done?
  • What is it like living in quarantine due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus?
  • When are we going to be locked inside?
  • What is Shelter In Place?

First, on the video, I said there’s really nothing I wish we should have done.  Whether we are in Italy or Canada, it doesn’t really matter.  This “shelter in place” or “lockdown” is the recommended method to keep this virus at bay.

One Last Party

After thinking about it further, perhaps one last party with all our friends would have been nice.  Also, on the evening that the lockdown was announced here in Modena, Andrea and I were out for dinner with some of our closest friends.  Not because we knew it was coming, but, it just happened that we were all out together.  Perhaps it was luck.  But, I wish that we had taken a photo of that evening.  Actually, I do have a photo… not of us, but of the chef at the restaurant, and what we ate!

Second, we might be in Italy, but, we are not under Quarantine.  To be sure, it’s more like lockdown, or otherwise known as Shelter In Place outside Italy.  Indeed, some people are in self-quarantine as they have tested positive.  But, those who test positive and are in self-quarantine have no symptoms.  Indeed, those without symptoms make up the largest group of “positive” cases.

Third, I really don’t have an answer.  I’d say that if you’re living in a big city, the chances are high that at some point soon, you too will face some form of “shelter in place” as it’s called in the US.  Indeed, as of today, San Francisco, New York, and Nevada have all enacted some forms of Shelter In Place.

What Is Shelter In Place?  Just Stay Home

Shelter in Place is essentially a carbon copy of everything we’ve been writing about.  You’ll likely expect to be at home for long periods of time.  If you can work from home, all the better.  The authorities will request some form of a declaration or affidavit that explains why you are leaving.

Notice the lack of people walking in the streets?  Normally, it would be full around this time at noon.  This is an immediate sign of Shelter In Place or lockdown as its called here in Italy.  To be sure, there’s nothing to be afraid of.  It’s just that people are staying indoors.

a deserted street in Italy at noon, after quarantine lockdown shelter in place

Giving Thanks

In yesterday’s video, we thanked all the doctors for their work.  Our friend Susie (From Seattle) reminded me that her son is a Police officer and that they too as first responders are having a difficult time.  Indeed, all first responders need to be thanked.  So, if you know a police officer, firefighter, paramedic or any other first responder, please, call them and thank them for their work.  

Top 10 Things to Do if you Are Issued a Shelter In Place or Lockdown Order

  1. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while…..high school or college friend you used to be close with. We all have them……….what a great opportunity to reconnect. Feel free to call me!
  2. Work out like crazy. Face it, we all had a New Year’s resolution to work out and lose weight. You just picked up a whole lot of free time.
  3. While you’re at it since restaurants will be closed, start working on your diet.  Its working for us!  We are down 4kg (9 lbs) so far this year!
  4. Learn something new.  For example, Andrea is learning Spanish on Duolingo.  Also, I’m still working on my Italian, and I’m up to a 455-day streak!  And we together, are learning how to make videos.  How are we doing?  
  5. Watch a new movie every day. How cool is that? Watch a “Best Picture” every night.

For the rest of our top 10, watch today’s video, then feel free to comment below!

March 17, 2020 – Day 10, Living Locked Down and Quarantined in Italy

Yesterday was a stressful day for us.  Surely, anyone who knows me, knows that I’m generally a happy person.  When someone asks, “how are you doing,” I always respond, “Great!” or “Perfect!”.  To be sure, shelter in place, or living under lockdown and quarantine here in Modena, Italy, has tested my limits.  Don’t worry. I’m still OK.

But yesterday, I was told I could no longer go for walks in the park.  That sort of freaked me out.  Thanks for Molly from Rome, however, she corrected me by saying that we could still walk or jog on the street.  Surely, I verified the accuracy.  Thanks, Molly 🙏

What About the Children In Italy?

One thing we don’t talk much about is how the children are coping.  Or worse, what are we doing to keep the children busy.  While Andrea and I don’t have kids, I do know that when they aren’t working with classwork on their tablets, some are creating art projects.  For example, one popular project is to hang painted white sheets out the windows, complete with rainbows, saying “Andrà Tutto Bene.”  To be sure, it means “Everything will be ok.”  And it will.

Perspectives On Shelter In Place From Italy

When I woke up this morning, I read that San Francisco and 6 Surrounding counties are going to start to go into what they call, “Shelter in place.”  Others call it a near-lockdown.  Indeed, this is a message we’ve been saying all long.  Get ready for it, shelter in place, or lockdown and quarantine measures are coming, but don’t panic.  For example, you can read from other folks (like us) who talk about what it’s like living here in Italy these days.

To be sure, it’s not the end of the world.  The key is to prepare for it mentally and physically.  For the next three weeks, think about social distancing. Admittedly, it’s for everyone’s best interest.  And, it seems to be working.  This is a screenshot from today’s new cases report.  As you can see, it looks like the new cases are starting to fall, for now.  I hope the trend continues.

New Covid-19 Coronavirus cases as of March 16, 2019 in Italy


Todays Video, Day 10: Everything Will be OK

In today’s video, we read some of the comments we’ve received over the past 24 hrs. We’ve received tons of positive messages all over social media.  Admittedly, I’ve also had some beratement on social media.  I get it. You have no idea what it’s like for us.  But, you just lack my perspective!

We are journaling our story to explain what it’s like living in shelter and place, or quarantined and locked down, here in Italy due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.  And, as difficult as it is, I want you all to get a little glimpse into the challenges folks like us are facing because there’s a chance it’ll happen to you.  Thank you much for continuing to follow us, we love you all!

March 16, 2020

Folks, this is week two, and it’s getting difficult to stay positive.  I’m sad because I see that both Canada and the United States are slowly showing the same signs are we did just a few short weeks ago.  For example, bars, schools, & public gatherings are starting to be closed or forbidden.  Further, some states are asking folks over 65 years of age to stay home.  We’ve been suggesting everyone just to stay home since the beginning of this.  Thankfully, some Canadian media is following our story with the hope that we can help prepare folks for the immediate future.

Covid-19 Coronavirus is Serious In Italy, and the World

Friends, this is serious stuff.  Sure, the Covid-19 coronavirus presents a little like the flu, perhaps significantly worse for some (i.e., older folks, and those with underlying health conditions like hypertension and diabetes).  But, the real problem is the hospitals.  Slowly, the ICUs are filling up fast.  On a positive note, new cases in Italy seem to be peaking.  Further, all non-essential surgical units are getting converted for ICU beds. Also, private hospitals in our area are pitching in and helping out, on the public system (I.e., no patient has to pay for any of their health services).

Get Ready for the Covid-19 Coronavirus Where You Live

Get ready, and start thinking “Social Distancing.”  If the United States and Canada follow what is happening here in Europe, expect:

  • Stay at least 1 Meter From Everyone
  • Avoid congregating in groups
  • Stop going to shopping centers
  • If you have to buy food, send one person
  • Stop going to parties, dinners, etc. with friends.

These are some of the measures you might be facing.

Further Shelter In Place (Lockdown) Measures

In sad news, as of midnight tonight, our local parks will close for the time being.  Indeed, this will severely impact our ability for physical activity.  Let that sink in a moment.  After tonight, as I understand it, we will not be able to do any physical activity outside our home.

Additionally, if you haven’t done so already, pick up a couple of refills of any medication you might need.  Further, pick up some non-perishable food items (pasta, canned goods, etc.).  You don’t need to hoard.  Just be sensible about it.  And no, wholesale amounts of toilet paper is not required.

What If You’re Already Traveling

Both the Canadian and US governments have advised against international travel.  Further, the Covid-19 Coronavirus emergency got classified as a Pandemic.

Canada Says: Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

The US State Dept Says: The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad at this time due to the global impact of COVID-19. 

If you are already vacationing somewhere, this should be a wakeup call.  It’s time to come home.  First, because commercially available flights are less and less available.  Second, your travel insurance likely won’t cover pandemic / Covid-19 coronavirus issues.

March 15, 2020

Fun Activities We Do Under Lockdown and Quarantine in Italy

Today is day 8, under virtual house arrest.  Indeed, shelter in place is making itself known. We took the opportunity and ramped up productivity.  In today’s video, you’ll see some of the fun things we’ve been doing to keep ourselves busy during this lockdown here in Italy.  Indeed, it was a lot of fun to put together on such a rainy day. Typically wet weather isn’t news; however, in this case, a rainy day means we stay inside.  Yep, while a little rain in Vancouver never bothered us, it’s sort of fallen a little out of style.  As a result, we didn’t go for any walks in the park.  Today, however, we hope it will be different.

CTV News Vancouver Interview

CTV News in Vancouver called for an interview (Click the image below to watch it).  To be honest, I’m both a little surprised and flattered about the number of interview requests we’ve been getting.  Indeed, our message about what it’s like to be living in Italy under quarantine and lockdown due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus is getting out.

Rick Orford and Andrea Spallanzani Interviewed by CTV News Vancouver

March 14, 2020 – Day 7: Under Quarantine and Lockdown here in Italy due to Covid-19 Coronavirus

Good morning!  Thank heavens, its Saturday.  To be honest, it’s felt like a month has gone by since we were locked down here in Modena, Italy.  First, the stock markets have gone haywire this week.  Indeed, it’s a cause for concern from retirees.  Then, we worried about Andrea’s parents, worrying about us.  To be sure, this whole Covid-19 Coronavirus disaster has created more worry and fear than anything.  I can’t wait for it to be over.

Later in the morning, Andrea and I started making tonight’s dinner.  Well, I grated the cheese. We are also working on a fun video tomorrow about what you can do if you are living shelter in place, locked down or quarantined at home.  For sure, all those days sailing in inside cabins on cruise ships have well prepared us for this exercise.

Andrea Making Tonights Dinner In Modena Italy while under Quarantine and Lockdown
Tonight’s Dinner: Baked Macaroni

Later, I will be doing some much-needed housework, and some other fun stuff, all while recording it on video for tomorrow’s special.  We can’t wait to show it to you!

What if You are Concerned About The Covid-19 Coronavirus?

Last, if you or someone you know wants to chat with us, feel free to contact us or send us a message.   We know this is a difficult time, perhaps you might be worried about Covid-19 Coronavirus, or getting locked down.  Either way, we are happy to chat about it, we have tons of time!  Naturally, if you have a medical-related question, call your doctor.  Or, if your city/town/province/state has a Covid-19 hotline, they might be of assistance as well.

(Friday) March 13, 2020

This morning, we visited the market to pick up some fresh fruit.

As you can see, it was a bit of a sad ghost down.  Interesting how it’s also Friday the 13th.  On any other day, you’d think its a prank.  But, here in Italy, many are following the rules and staying home during this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.  On that note, some are asking us why we are still leaving our homes.  First, we’re allowed to buy food.  Second, we can go for a walk.  Third, we are allowed to help out Andrea’s parents.  Indeed, we are outside far less than usual.  It’s a little like house arrest.  But, we’ll get through it.

Andrea at the Market buying Fruits - Seems a little empty today.

After the market, and on the way home, we went to the pharmacy to pick up some supplies.  Interestingly, today, we all had to sanitize our hands and wear gloves.  As I said before, it sort of feels like the twilight zone.  But, if it helps prevent the spread of Covid-19 Coronavirus, I don’t mind doing my part.  All in all, we were out about 15 mins today.

Rick at the Pharmacy, sanitizing his hands - what its like to live in quarantine and lockdown conditions in italy

BBC Called for A Possible Interview!

After lunch, we had a call from the BBC.  To be sure, Covid-19 Coronavirus is big news in the UK right now, just as it is everywhere in the world.  Unfortunately, not everyone appears to be preparing as best as they could. And, it seems the UK is interested in what it’s like living in Italy under quarantine and lockdown due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Today, and for the next video in our series, we put together a video entitled “Get Ready.”  In this video, we discuss the things you might want to do beforehand, to get prepared, in case your town or city gets locked down or quarantined.

March 12, 2020

Those who know me know that I am an eternal optimist on a bad day.  Further, a realist on a real day.  These days, it’s tough for me to keep positive.  One thing that’s kept us going is the incredible outpour from people all over the world.  Indeed, it’s in times like this when we know who are real friends are.  You all know who you are. So, for everyone who has been thinking of us lately, *BIG VIRTUAL KISSES HUGS* – but from one meter apart, for now…

An Overall Sadness in Italy, over the Lockdown, Quarantine due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus

rick sad emoji

Now, on to new business.  Yesterday, Italy declared all stores to close, with some exceptions: Pharmacies, Tobacco Shops (Who should close anyway), and Food Stores.  To be sure, it wasn’t much of a surprise as we had received emails from some stores that they were closing for the time being.

Indeed, many people have been choosing to stay inside – as they should.  Further, we have a lot of older folks here in Italy, and they are the most vulnerable to the Covid-19 Coronavirus.  Especially those with underlying health conditions.  While there are some who, like us, continue to take walks in the park, I don’t know how long it will last.  Also, this poses a problem for us, as we continue to visit with Andrea’s parents.  Rest assured, we stay far away from others, wash our hands often, and take all steps necessary to avoid close contact with the public.

Rick and Andrea walking in the park before writing about what its like living in italy amid the covid-19 coronavirus emergency

Economic Issues Here in Italy

Indeed, we worry about these small shops.  As for the factories, they remain open, for now.  Elsewhere, in North America, we are starting to see the same signs that we saw here just a few short weeks ago.  Crowd activities, group sports, etc. are slowly getting canceled.  Flights to Europe from the US are now getting canceled as well.  To be sure, these are the things China had to do to get a grip.

What Should you Do: Our Advice

Don’t panic.  Don’t be afraid.  Be prepared, because the Covid-19 Coronavirus in North America is just a few weeks, perhaps a little more or less, just behind us here in Italy.  Stay away from crowds.  Keep a few days of extra food.  Don’t worry about toilet paper.  Start making plans to work from home.  Start making plans for the kids to be taken care of because schools are no doubt going to get closed. It’s not forever.  We will beat this.  In the meantime, life is going to get a little strange.

If you have travel plans, please, just cancel them.  Or, have a Plan B.  The WHO has declared the Covid-19 Coronavirus a Pandemic.  As a result, practically every travel insurance will likely deny a claim due to Covid-19.  Just stay home.

March 11, 2020

Today we visited the supermarket.  Interesting times.  Many people wearing masks, and we had to wait a few minutes before we could go inside.  Interestingly, the store did not want lots of people in the store at the same time.

We recorded our 5th video but realized after publishing that I made a mistake in the first few seconds.  To be sure, this is our Day 4.  We have posted below our latest video about what it’s like living in Italy during a shelter in place order, under lockdown and quarantine because of the Covid-19 and coronavirus.

As you can see, we moved the recording outside.  Indeed, the temperature has risen to a comfortable 19C today in Modena, Italy.  So, this morning, I went to the garage and picked up all our patio furniture, and brought it to our garden.  Indeed, it was a good feeling, doing something “normal” during this weird time.

Andrea about to start our video about what its like living in italy under quarantine and lockdown amid the covid-19 coronavirus

March 10, 2020 – After the Dust Settled

Here is our latest video:

Indeed, there were many fewer people in this part of Italy. Admittedly Surely, it was because the newest latest rule changes asking people to stay home.  While we didn’t see too many people wearing masks, there were a few.  Notably, we should remain 1 Meter away from practically everything and everyone.  Naturally, this was to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus here in Italy.

We visited the market this morning.  Again, we are allowed to buy groceries!  Here are some photos of what we saw:

The Local News Here In Italy Regarding Lockdown & Quarantine Measures

Repubblica.it has finally released a deciphered list of things we can / can’t do.  For those who don’t speak Italian, the rules are clear.  Everyone is to stay home as much as possible, unless it’s for something necessary, like buying groceries or going to work.  Additionally, those having a fever over 37.5C must stay home at all times.

Interestingly Mortgage Payments, Utility Payments, and Taxes are not required to be paid during this time.

Some good news out China: they reported only 19 new cases yesterday in the entire country.   And South Korea is looking up as well.

Also, NewsTalk 1010 interviewed us today.  It was nice to be able to share our story from here in Italy, to folks living in Toronto who might get concerned what it’s like to live in quarantine or lockdown conditions due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.  Thank you for this opportunity.

Morning – All of Italy is now Locked down, And Under Quarantine – Measures increased.

Things got messy real quick last night.  At around 10 pm local time, the Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte, announced further measures regarding the lockdown.  Now, all of Italy is under a Shelter in Place order or locked-down and under quarantine due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Further, as we understand it, we can only leave our home to go to work, buy food (in our local town), and then return home.  It is unclear if we are allowed to visit family, but we will see.

As mentioned previously, my main concern is about the local economy.  Indeed, this is going to be a challenging month for small businesses.  But, Italians are resilient, and I have no doubt they will get through it. Time will tell.  Everyone, so far, is still allowed to go to work.  Factories remain open, and this is good.  Hopefully, we can keep these factories running.

A Glimmer Of Hope?

A glimmer of hope and some good news is that China seems to continue on its path of positivity in battling the Covid-19 coronavirus.  Reuters is reporting that Wuhan has now closed all its temporary hospitals. Indeed, the makeshift hospitals got built at lightning speed about one month ago.

In other news, we are being interviewed by Newstalk 1010 in Toronto this morning.  I guess our Twitter and Youtube accounts are attracting some additional attention.  Indeed, we have a lot more time on our hands these days than usual.  So, we’re using the time to be productive.

Our Immediate Plans for Shelter In Place / Lockdown

For those of you who are wondering, we will be buying some fruits and vegetables this morning.  Then, off to Andrea’s parents’ home for lunch.  Hopefully, they won’t be too gloomy amid this whole situation.

Last, we are happy to be able to continue to provide updates on what is happening here.  Thank you all for keeping us company, and sending us messages of support.  It’s nice to know we aren’t alone in this big, big world.  Indeed, we’re all in this together.

March 9, 2020

Evening Entry

So today was a pretty typical day for us. If we didn’t listen to the radio or watch the news, we would never know that our region in Italy was under a shelter in place, quarantine or lockdown order.  We have, however, been getting lots of comments from social media.  Our Facebook Page and Twitter have been working overtime.  Furthermore, on Youtube, we’ve been getting lots of views as well.

What did we get up to today?  As mentioned previously, it was a pretty typical day.  We visited Andrea’s parents (who are always happy to see us, especially now).  Then, we made lunch, and I went to my Italian School.  Andrea and his mom went to do some food shopping.

Today’s Video

As you can see in the video, the food stores are full.  I think the only thing lacking may be hand sanitizer.  But, for us, it’s not a problem.  We wash our hands often.  The World Health Organization suggests doing just that.  Finally, no one thinks I’m crazy anymore for washing my hands 200 times a day!!

After school, Andrea and I visited his Aunt and Uncle for a quick visit.  To be sure, this is all very common here in Italy.  Indeed, family time is crucial.

Morning Entry

Wow.  What an evening it was yesterday.  Indeed, we recorded our first video yesterday.  We went to downtown Modena, ate gelato, kicked a soccer ball around, then returned home to start this post.  Excitingly, once published, people from all over the world began following us on Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, and site.  Also, our website started to explode.  Thank heavens we have good servers.  Then, Good Morning America asked us to interview what it’s like to live under a shelter in place, or in quarantine and lockdown conditions here in Italy.  Naturally, we granted it right away.

Don’t Watch The Stocks

After waking up this morning, we watched the financial markets.  Investors are freaking out a little.  If you are an investor, you might want to turn off that news for the time being.

We will begin reporting the latest cases here in Italy.  Repubblica is reporting 1326 New Covid-19 cases this morning here in Italy (6387 Cases total), and 622 recoveries thus far.  As we understand it, the vast majority of folks recover.  Again, we are not afraid of Covid-19.  To be sure, the CDC reports the high-risk group is those who are older, with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes. We just need to keep a level head and think clearly, and as unemotionally as possible.

Here is our latest video we recorded this morning:

March 8, 2020

Wow.  I woke up to 100’s of words of encouragement all over social media, thank you!!!!  Also, I tried to find some articles that made any sense out of what I could and could not do.  To be sure, our area is supposed to be under a Shelter in Place, or quarantine order.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find much about where I can and cannot go within Italy during this COVID-19 / Coronavirus quarantine situation.  I have no idea. Here’s what I do know about being locked down.

Areas in Italy Affected By the Quarantine & Lockdown

According to Repubblica, The following provinces in Italy are affected by the quarantine.

Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro Urbino, Venezia, Padova, Treviso, Asti, Vercelli, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, and Alessandria

Until April 2, 2020, all public schools, museums, churches are all closed.  Also, restaurants must close at 6 pm.  The point is, the government wants to limit the amount of human to human activity.  I get it.  But at the same time, humans are social people.  So, as it’s unnatural to be under quarantine, I understand why some choose to go outside.

Andrea and went to take a look and see who was out and about.  Then, I drove to downtown Modena today to see if there were any differences.  To be sure, we are not afraid of the virus.

It’s Not a Zombie Apocalypse

What we saw wasn’t the zombie apocalypse that some might think.  For example, I would say there was about a 30-40% reduction of people strolling the piazzas today.  Also, the stores were, for the most part, closed.  Also, many of the restaurants and coffee bars w closed as well.  But, for those brave restaurant owners who opened, they were all full.  Yes, folks – people are still eating, drinking, and sharing laughs today.

Also, we will be publishing more videos regarding the lockdown and quarantine situation here in Italy through the next few days.  This one is our first video in the series.

March 7, 2020 – Lockdown and Quarantine Announced in Italy

Andrea and I were out with friends, and around 9 pm, the news leaked that our area, the Province of Modena, Italy (in the Emilia Romagna region), would be put in quarantine.  Some say its an Italian lockdown.  Suddenly, I felt like I was in prison.  I’ve never felt like that before.

But, let’s get one thing straight.  I am not scared of the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Indeed, I am afraid of the panic the virus is creating in many.

Is The Covid-19 Coronavirus The End of the World?

Here in Italy, the shelter in place aka lockdown and quarantine is in effect, a giant travel restriction.  We will not be able to travel outside our province until April 3, 2020.  Its not the end of the world, or is it?

We’ve already seen significant economic effects as a result of this fear.  Indeed, I think this might cause a global recession.  And, I’m starting to see the damage right here in Italy.  People have been emailing me regularly since mid-February asking whether or not they should cancel their trip here.

I’m not a doctor, but, while I’m not fearful of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, I accept the fact that it will spread.  Indeed, I believe the virus has no borders.

We Won’t Fear this Quarantine and Lockdown in Italy

Rick and Andrea sharing Wine at Sabatini on Princess

For the foreseeable future, we will use this story to share what it’s like for Andrea and me to live here in Modena, Italy.  We will make every attempt to be impartial and keep a level head and provide facts and links in support.

We will be living on lockdown and in quarantine here in Italy, but we’ll get through it.  We’re not afraid.  Thank you for reading.  It means the world to us.

Rick & Andrea