Ever visited Venice in summer and thought, “I wish I could see this place without the crowds?”
Your vision just came true.
Unfortunately, sucking gelato solo is only possible due to a global pandemic that could see you bedridden or dead.
Though coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, some 8,477 kilometres away, if you’re not already in a wifi-less bunker, you’ll know Italy has seen an alarming outbreak too.
As CNN reported this morning, “Italy’s Civil Protection Authority reported the country now has 1,694 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday.”
“Thirty-four people have died. Italy has the most coronavirus cases of any country outside of Asia.”
The worst-affected areas, according to the BBC, are in the industrial north of the country – Lombardy, the region around Milan, and Veneto near Venice.
As of last Friday, of Italy’s 650 confirmed cases of coronavirus, about 111 are in the Veneto region, or which Venice is the capital.
“The outbreak flared last weekend, taking local authorities and the World Health Organisation by surprise. The country had just three cases a week ago,” The Sydney Morning Herald wrote on February 28th.
The result? As The Wall Street Journal reports, “Venice’s high tides have receded,” and “now tourism is running dry.”
“As Italy battles the coronavirus, tourists are shunning trips and Venice faces a big loss of business.”
That hasn’t stopped a small number of travellers from going, though, and flaunting their experience on social media.
Arrived in venice this morning, so glad we came, only 44 people.on the plane, weather is lovely, all bars, shops cafes open, walked for hours, very quiet, attractions that are closed are supposed to be opening sunday, no one seems to be worried about #coronavirus
— Paula Battaglia (@PaulaBattaglia5) February 28, 2020
Unique? Certainly. Brave? Some would be more inclined to call it stupid.
Only sh*tebags don’t go on hol cause of coronavirus, buzzin for Venice in the morn 🤙🏽
— laura pirrie (@LozzaPee_) February 28, 2020
In any case, it appears there are various travellers living it up in the city of Gondolas and Pigeons.
Pictures showing a very empty Venice due to the coronavirus situation in Italy. Hasn’t stopped us having the best time though! pic.twitter.com/tHbWIk12T0
— Holly 🌸 (@dailydoseofhols) February 29, 2020
Genius, or rude? On one hand, it seems in poor taste. Especially considering locals like the bakery owner the Sydney Morning Herald recently interviewed, are in anguish: “Never had the streets been so quiet, she explained, before tears welled in her eyes and she disappeared into the kitchen.”
You can and you should if you have been in a quarantine zone in Italy.
— Aunty Janet #FBPE🕷️ (@scarlettpeach) February 25, 2020
But then, if you’re game (and insured) enough to take the risk, one could argue you’re doing Venice a favour by boosting its economy (just make sure you follow the recommended precautions while travelling, and isolate yourself on return).
Oh and also: be prepared for judgemental looks from your stay-at-home neighbours who will see your actions as risking the fate of humanity for a 200 euro flight you booked while drunk last year. But we digress…
It’s not on lockdown. It’s one small village miles away.
— djwefc78 (@damienweston) February 24, 2020
St Marks now looks eerie as hell…
These pictures out of Venice are so striking. St. Mark’s has emptied out because of the coronavirus outbreak. @annamomi reports on what’s going on in the city. https://t.co/B4j0nwxq6i pic.twitter.com/Io9TW16Udk
— Amy Virshup (@amyvirshup) February 27, 2020
… and the traditional Venice carnival masks are more appropriate than they have been for centuries.
Venice carnival: People wear the type of masks used by doctors centuries ago to treat patients afflicted with the plague during a procession on the last day of the carnival pic.twitter.com/bN2Pqbfsm2
— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 26, 2020
If you had a holiday booked and paid for, what would you do?