As Ohioans go into their first day of the Stay at Home order issued by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Tammie Shouster Mault and her husband Marion know firsthand what it is like to be in lockdown.
The couple moved to Italy in 2019 and have been experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak for the past three weeks. Mault shared what it has been like living in Italy during the pandemic.
“We have had mandated quarantine for two weeks and now going into the third. Just like you, we were still moving about for birthdays, weddings, funerals, etc. Not truly staying home,” Mault said. “We now have taken even tighter measures. We began in late February with closures of Cinemas, bowling alleys, fitness centers, etc. Next, came dining in at restaurants and eventually delivery only. People were still moving about so we had the mandated quarantine implemented. Next, all nonessential stores closed. We only have grocery stores and pharmacies open.”
Due to the rapid spread of the virus in Italy Mault shared curfews were put in place and enforced to help prevent looting and help stop the spread of the virus in one of the world’s hardest-hit places.
“We are to stay 200 meters or closer to our homes. If we go farther without approved movements, we receive a 1200 euro fine,” Mault said. “There are drones that fly over to notify if we are out in the streets. Some communities have vans with speakers driving around giving orders.”
While Mault and her family are on lockdown in Italy, she said she is still able to go to the grocery store and still has some normalcy in her life, just altered to follow social distancing guidelines.
“We haven’t had a hoarding issue here, as our refrigerators and freezers are small, and we are used to shopping frequently,” Mault said. “We have a meter distance policy in public and only one family member can shop. We have one to a car and our public transit is still running with the 1-meter (39 inches) distancing.”
As for advice for Ohio and America, Mault said she felt many didn’t take it seriously when Italy was first warned of the virus.
“We didn’t take this seriously because we didn’t personally know someone with the virus! Keep mingling and you will see it firsthand…. It’s not something you want,” Mault said.
Mault shared that when she needs to go to the store she has to fill out a document that states where she is going and be prepared to provide it to officials if they stop her on her trip.
“If I am stopped and aren’t on my way to a grocery, pharmacy, hospital or work if applicable, then I am fined,” Mault said.
When asked if she thought the Stay Home order was the right move for Ohio Mault stated that she didn’t want to see Ohio or America follow in Italy’s footsteps with the virus.
“I am so happy to see Ohio’s governor taking action.,” Mault said. “We have the largest elderly population in Europe and many of our deaths have been people over age 65. Had we had a better understanding of the exposure period, maybe we could have started sooner. Here in Italy, people hug and kiss as a greeting, so we were spreading it without knowing.”
“Remember Ohioans that it’s not only about you being able to survive the virus but the others you may pass it to. This is a time to think of your fellow man. The stores will still be there. Take this time to stay home. Be creative, do home projects, write a story. You will be doing your part in saving our world.”
Mault shared while there have been some difficult times in Italy, the country remains strong and united. Mault confirmed the scenes of Italians showing unity. “One evening we all came out on our balconies and sang, played music, or banged on pots and pans to show unity.”
“All the kids have made these (signs and paintings) and we all have them sitting or hanging on our balconies. Andra’ Tutto Bene’ which means everything will be all right. It is our theme to keep going,” Mault said.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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