You are here

Focus July 2020

The Academy’s convivial gatherings are back

Despite often absurd restrictions, the Delegations have enthusiastically resumed their activities.

We had predicted that the previous number of Civiltà della Tavola would be the first and last without the section on the Academy’s activities. With this July edition, we are immensely happy to reinstate the full format thanks to the numerous convivial gatherings held by our Delegations during June, the moment the restrictions allowed it. We already have word of many planned summer initiatives. Amid a deluge of widely varying news about contagion in Italy and worldwide, we apprehensively observe screaming headlines, disquisitions on hot spots, and morbid forecasts of a second wave, though the statements of virologists, epidemiologists and immunologists leave us unsure as to whether they fear or desire it (at least it would let them continue droning on TV and in the papers).
Enlightening examples of folly include the recent advice which allows carnal congress, but for no longer than 15 minutes! Or the permission of grandparents to be with their grandchildren, but a metre apart, without holding or kissing them! Yet they can request the ‘grandparents’ bonus’ (emergency baby-sitting subsidy). “Oh, please!” as the comedian Totò might say. Meanwhile, people flock to the seaside while restaurants remain theoretically shackled by limits which are absurd to say the least. Coats (in cold climates!) must be stored separately lest they infect each other. Exit and entry routes and paths to tables must be clearly marked. If a metre’s distance is impossible, plexiglas separators are necessary (hence restaurant patrons are now boxed into incubators), and as for menus - verboten! Only on mobiles, or billboards, or single-use paper. Excellent extra-virgin olive oil? Not a chance! Oil, vinegar, salt and pepper sachets instead. Buffets? Absolutely not! Or rather, yes, but with pre-made portions, or served by the staff. Masks are mandatory upon leaving the table, but not those with a little virus-liberating exhalation valve. Not to mention the list of customers to be kept for 14 days!
We crave tourists. Spend your holidays in Italy! It’s pleasant and safe - unfortunately, however, between quarantines and bans, the 2020 tourist season is lost. Covid manifestly remains a problem, and the virus, while we await cures and vaccines, is obviously still around, though reduced. However, to face the economic fallout which is inevitable in September, we need a clear strategy to solve real and concrete problems: helping tourism and restaurants through less absurd rules and reduced bureaucracy. Substantial solutions - not just electric scooter subsidies!

Paolo Petroni
President of the Accademia