To the world, it would seem that Italy has now been in a complete state of quarantine for more than 3 weeks and the world is looking to us to see if the experiment of total shutdown has been successful. Shockingly, the statistics are not showing any abatement in the number of people being infected. But for those that have been living it, I refer to a phrase made famous by Mark Twain – Lies, damned lies & statistics. Our government started taking precautionary measures starting with the 23rd of February and it has been a slow process:
- Week of the 23rd February – schools, museums and some public offices officially closed. Bars & restaurant could work untill 6pm to avoid grouping of people enjoying Happy Hour. Since this was also the week of Carnival, many people had already organised vacations in the mountains for skiing and at seaside resorts.
- Week of the 2nd March – same as above and companies started introducing the concept of Smart Worker for non-essential workers. That is, stay at home and work and take care of your kids!
- Week of the 9th March – quarantine in Lombardy for those of this region, a greater attention to keeping employees working from home and also a mass exodus for those that had summer homes in other parts of Italy.
- Week of the 16th March – total quarantine throughout Italy and finally, trains started closing down as did airports in a significant manner. The immigration, police and public administration is closed except for urgent work. People have been asked to limit their excursions to the supermarket, pharmacies and walking their dogs. Everything else is closed including the coffee bars and restaurants. People are finally taking the restrictions seriously as the rate of infection keeps on rising.
So, in hindsight, the Italian experiment has been slow, not so all-encompassing during these weeks and we must not lose hope and spend time concentrating on the old adage “This too will pass“.
As a relocation company we are currently involved in projects to evacuate expats back to their home countries. Our role in getting them from one region to another would be considered an easy process in times of normalcy. Today, with all the Police blocks limiting travel between regions, it is no small feat to get them to where they need to be for their flights. We are very proud to be part of this effort in helping these expats return to their countries and their families.
My thoughts. Let’s use this downtime to become more creative as we think of future business plans. Let’s also remember that we are human beings working in the relocation world and uncannily gifted to solve problems. In these most challenging of times and with these talents, we need to find ways to be put them to good use.