Saturday, November 21, 2020

No virus talk allowed at this bar in Rome

'We're fed up with talking about Covid, we can't take it anymore, everywhere we go we only talk about Covid.'

Other News

‘Eyes will be plucked out,’ China warns anglophone allies over Hong Kong

The Five Eyes are accusing Beijing of reneging on their agreements to maintain Hong Kong's special freedoms.

Selepas ketepikan saya, Anwar masih tak jadi PM, kata Dr Mahathir

Anwar sebelum ini mengatakan beliau mempunyai sokongan “kukuh dan meyakinkan”.

Kerajaan sedia audit MySejahtera selepas dakwaan data diceroboh

Syarikat audit bebas bakal dipanggil bagi melakukan semakan.

Govt ready to audit MySejahtera to counter claims of personal data breach

The debate over the app's data privacy points to lingering trust issues that could undermine the battle against Covid-19.

Kebenaran rentas zon hijau bakal hidupkan semula pelancongan domestik, kata menteri

Keputusan itu mampu meredakan kegusaran pengusaha perkhidmatan pelancongan seperti perhotelan dan resort, pemandu pelancong, inap desa dan produk pelancongan.

The message is clear from the hand-written poster above the counter – all talk of coronavirus, lockdowns or virology is strictly forbidden.

In this little bar on the outskirts of Rome, the manager hopes to give her clients a brief respite from the global pandemic while they drink their coffee.

“We’ve been talking about the same thing for months, so we chose to lighten the atmosphere,” Cristina Mattioli, manager of the Feeling bar, told AFP.

As the first European country hit by the pandemic, Italy has been under the shadow of Covid-19 for longer than most, and endured one of the toughest lockdowns.

After a heady few weeks over the summer where life almost returned to normal, the pandemic again dominates everything, with deaths mounting each day.

“It’s not at all about denial, or not understanding the difficulty of what the world is going through, but just about giving yourself a break,” Mattioli said.

‘Anything but that’

She said most customers in the bar, adorned with wooden boxes filled with tea on the walls and offering a tempting array of sandwiches and pastries, have reacted positively to the ban.

Bruna Piazza, a regular who comes in to buy lottery tickets, thinks it’s a great idea.

“We’re fed up with talking about Covid, we can’t take it anymore, everywhere we go we only talk about Covid,” the 58-year-old said.

“I’m happy to talk about anything except that, I’d rather talk about the weather, or celebrities.”

Coronavirus is ever present, from the hand sanitiser to the masks worn by everyone not eating and drinking. The cafe itself has to shut early, at 6pm, under government orders designed to stem infection rates.

To help distract people, Mattioli has put up another poster offering ideas for conversation, including history and culture.

“It’s a wise initiative, I would even say indispensable,” adds hairdresser Maurizio Ciocari, another regular.

“You have to stop talking about it, you have to solve the problem, not talk about it.”

As a rock’n’roll fan with the long hair to match, the 63-year-old says he easily finds other things to discuss: “We talk about everything. Me, I love music.”

And what happens if clients start inadvertently discussing exponential curves or a potential vaccine?

“No sanctions, but I show them the posters,” Mattioli, 35, says with a smile.

It seems she is on to something – two new customers have heard about the initiative and come in to congratulate her.

“Another cafe manager in Trentino (in northern Italy) has also made similar posters, although she asked my permission first,” she adds with pride.

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

India’s Covid-19 cases pass 9 million as Delhi struggles

India has now registered more than 132,000 deaths, according to the latest official figures, which are widely seen as understating the true scale of the pandemic.

South Australia to end lockdown early after pizza parlour blunder

Authorities blame 'deliberate misleading' of their contact-tracing team.

WHO advises against remdesivir for Covid-19 treatment

WHO says there is 'no evidence based on currently available data that it does improve patient-important outcomes'.

Rights group slams wristband suggestion for migrant workers

Lawyers for Liberty says action should be taken against employers who force workers to live in cramped conditions, not the workers themselves.

Japan on ‘maximum alert’ after record virus cases

More than 2,000 cases were recorded nationwide on Wednesday, with nearly 500 in the capital Tokyo alone.