by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Rome, March 8, 2020: As I traveled back and forth to the Vatican, this morning, to file my report on the suspension of Masses (2nd, 1st), I took the opportunity to speak with two taxi drivers about the state of their profession.
The Health Measures decreed by the government have caused us to lose 70% of our business: said one taxi-man. He explained to me that there has already been a fall off of tourists to the city in recent months, but now with corona virus they have disappeared.
In regard to the decree from the Italian Episcopal Conference which was not published on the internet but sent electronically to Bishops and clergy: to stop all religious services in Italy, I asked another cabbie his views.
He told me: Yes, with this decision to stop all the masses, the pilgrims simply won’t come to Rome. It is a decision that will destroy us.
I wondered if there is any basis to all these fears. I thought to myself that if there was, the Taxi Company Cooperatives would give instructions to taxi cab drivers on how to avoid the Corona Virus. So I asked the second taxi cab driver: Have they issued to you any special instructions on how to protect yourselves as cab drivers?
No, he said. None at all.
If one simply looks at the sidewalks in the city, one can see that NO BODY is observing the new Decree from the Council of Ministers which says persons should not approach others closer than 1 meter.
The real penalties are that businesses such a bars and restaurants which are considered not observing the decree can lose their licenses to operate. But I saw none observing them. Yes, there were much fewer locals at bars and shops, but the ones which were out and about, were moving normally. Only a few per thousand were wearing medical masks.
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