As of Monday night, the entire country of Italy is under lockdown as the government continues its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. That means that people cannot leave their towns unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel.

All flights have been cancelled and airports closed. All schools are shuttered and all public gatherings have been banned.

Restaurants can remain open but have to close by 6 p.m. and guests have to be seated at least two meters (about six and a half feet) from one another.

The restrictions will remain in place at least until April 3 and the Italian government is encouraging people to stay at home and work from home if possible.

That’s a photo of the Duomo of Milan (above), the city’s iconic cathedral, taken at around 10 a.m. on Monday morning (photo by Giovanni Contrada). On a normal Monday, that piazza would be full of commuters, shoppers, and tourists. This week, it’s totally empty.

Our hearts and prayers go out to our Italian sisters and brothers as they face their biggest challenge since the Second World War. God bless Italy and God bless us all.

Please see this recent post by Phaedra Cook for Houston Food Finder: “How to Help Italy Now: Buy Authentic Italian Ingredients & Wine.”

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