A waiter wearing a respiratory mask as part of precautiobary measures against the spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus, hands a capuccino at a cafe in downtown Milan Photograph:( AFP )
Bars, stores and restaurant, which previously used to stay open until 6 pm, were to immediately shutter as of Thursday morning
Italians and coffee generally complement each other. Not so much, however, these days, due to coronavirus outbreak.
"Bloody coronavirus, now we're even denied our coffee? What kind of world are we living in?" complained Roberto Fichera, who is furious after his favourite bar closed nearby the Colosseum.
The 80-year-old has not heard about the new restrictions imposed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday in order to control the pandemic that has already killed 827 people in Italy.
(An empty cafe terrace is pictured by the Pantheon monument in Rome | Photo Credit: AFP)
Alessandro, who is in his thirties, describes a morning espresso in the local bar something "indispensable".
(Shutters are placed on the windows of the Cafe Florian in Saint Mark Square just before at 18 o'clock in Venice | Photo Credit: AFP)
However, he was forced to have coffee at home after the latest measure that shut down all the places where people gather to drink coffee, chat and have a few laughs.
"Let's just say it's hard," said Alessandro.
"It hurts me that everything is closed."
The rising death numbers and over 12,000 confirmed cases has made Italy, after mainland China, the worst affected country by COVID-19.
Bars, stores and restaurant, which previously used to stay open until 6 pm, were to immediately shutter as of Thursday morning.
All the cafes outside the Pantheon in Rome, the former Roman temple, were closed.
A similar story was visible at the Piazza Navona, which many consider as one of the most beautiful spots of the city.
Instead of the usual musicians playing on the streets and tourists clicking images, police there circled the area and asked the few passersby for their "self-declarations," written statements explaining the reason for their not being at their homes.
Those willing to evade the stay-at-home directive face the risk of fine up to 200 euros ($225) or three months in prison.
(With AFP inputs)