First of all, thanks for all the good wishes, which are very much appreciated. We are all absolutely fine and life is going on pretty much as normal.
Now, a number of you have contacted me to ask if you should still visit. This is, of course, very flattering and I’m happy to help as best I can. However, I am not a virologist or epidemiologist – I am a bloke on the internet who writes crime novels and just happens to live in Venice. So any advice I give should be taken with that in mind.
This is the situation as it currently is, to the best of my knowledge :-
There have been two cases of the COVID-19 virus in Venice. Both were recorded ten days ago (at the time of writing) and there have been no further cases in the city since then.
The city is not in quarantine or in ‘lockdown’. However, schools are closed and are scheduled to remain so until 8th March. Theatres and cinemas, likewise.
Most museums have reopened. Churches are open to visit but not for Mass. St Marks’s Basilica has, at the time of writing, reopened as well.
People are calm, getting on with life and I have seen no evidence of panic buying. Public transport is working as normal. Bars, restaurants, hotels, shops and markets are all open and would, frankly, be very grateful for your business.
The city is as quiet as I can remember. Here, for example, is a photograph of St Marks’s Square at 10.00 on a Monday morning.
The risk, in my opinion, is minimal. But that is not, of course, the same as absolutely risk free.
Should you still come? Well, that’s up to you. If you genuinely have concerns about your health, or if the thought of it is worrying you, then I would say not. There is, after all, no point in visiting if you’re not going to be happy. I have also heard – first-hand – of visitors effectively being quarantined at home by their employers after visiting Northern Italy. So it would seem best to check your personal situation before visiting.
If you do visit, however – and I hope you feel able to – you really will have a unique opportunity to see the city at its most beautiful. And people will be delighted to see you.
All good wishes, whatever you decide, and thanks again for all your messages. The next blog post, I hope, will be back to the usual nonsense.