Palermo in the red zone: an empty city, merchants on the brink

PALERMO – “Business is bad. There is no one on the street – declares Ignazio Mastrolembo -. Schools are closed and people are not circulating. We had to adapt with communications, with gels, masks and Plexiglas by spending money, but in the end there are no people. There red zone is right, but done like this – he urges – it is wrong. The takeaway to whom should we do it? They should do as the first time with a total lockdown ”.

These are some of the comments from the traders of Palermo, which from midnight today until April 14 is in the red zone. This is due to the increase in infections from Covid 19, which are leading hospitals to collapse, with doctors and nurses doing more of their work, without stopping for a moment.

The red zone, arrived with the order of the president of the Sicilian Region Nello Musumeci, has emptied or almost emptied the Sicilian capital. Movements are limited, some businesses are forced to keep the shutters down and the Municipality, to avoid gatherings, has decided to close villas and gardens. To all this are added some rules to be respected (CLICK HERE TO READ THEM).

The activities open this morning were very few. The traders are exhausted, their coffers are in the red because, despite the adjustments requested for the reopening, they do not see the hope of reopening on the horizon.

Among the activities affected was Mrs. Vitale’s bookshop, which hasn’t seen tourists for months: “We are a tourist bookshop and as long as there is no flow of people coming here it will be like being closed for us. The help – continues the owner of the business – they are not in proportion to what we are losing. We want to work we don’t want aid ”. Ms. Vitale also talks about the possibility of reopening everything: “With vaccines and with precautions you can go on living, you don’t have to close. For me this is not a solution ”.

Even Mr. Ruvolo, who has a business in front of the Teatro Massimo, is tired of this situation: “Swe are more in the red zone than anything else. We had 90% losses. It is difficult to live in this situation. You have a business that has been closed for a year, another that you keep open because it is a point of reference for not losing what you have “.

We are waging an unarmed war – declares Renato Davì -. Unfortunately the situation is unmanageable and uncontrollable. The further it goes the worse it is. Even this closure decided by Musumeci is ridiculous and useless. I think it is useless to close and reopen with the same situation. If it must close it closes, but the reopening must be with everyone vaccinated. The controls are there, via Cavour, however – concludes Davì – which is a passage way there are not many. They are mostly in front of the Teatro Massimo ”.

The morning in the capital was spent with cars on the street from the early hours of the morning, some runners at the Foro Italico, several Palermitans near the local markets and supermarkets. Among the protests of traders, shopping centers and some categories of shops such as footwear, clothing, barbers, hairdressers and beauty centers remain closed. Controls especially in the center, while in some areas of the suburbs it seemed like a day without too many restrictions. Since last night the Sicilian capital is in the red zone Today the market in viale Campania is regularly open and populated: all in full compliance, because the activity of street vendors selling food, agricultural and horticultural products is allowed. Elementary schools, kindergartens and kindergartens are open as well as the first grades of middle school.

Of God: “We are tired. Red zone creates more damage “

Confcommercio, with the president Patrizia Di Dio, expresses all its disappointment at this decision by the president of the Sicilian Region Nello Musumeci: “Too much talk and no concrete facts, as always. Too comfortable. That of Palermo is not an emergency, it is a situation that is the result of an organizational machine that obviously did not work, provided that the data are correct and not thrown at random. Because we don’t know the numbers, there is no transparency. And if there was, we have no guarantees of adequate data management, given the confused and medieval system even if in good faith “.

We are tired of a political class that acts as a “notary” and takes Pilates or even authoritarian and arbitrary positions – Di Dio continues -. We we respect the provisions but we would like to be sure that we are not faced with abuses, given that the data are not those that sanctioned the red zone according to national parameters ”.

Di Dio attacks by talking about closures that do not concern all categories: “The umpteenth week of closure begins, but only for those few, haunted and unfortunate categories, in our opinion as useless as it is avoidable. They force us to close with only a few hours notice, with no respect for our work and our downfall. Judging from the facts, no one cares or is able to find the solution to help businesses concretely and not with chatter. And, even more serious, no one has come up with a new and more effective model to combat the pandemic. The more it is demonstrated that the measures adopted in the past have not worked, the more we insist on proposing them ”.

In the face of dysfunctions, lightness and inequity, we have never heard admissions of responsibility or sanctions against those responsible. Just chatter and useless meetings. The fault always lies with others. So much so are the entrepreneurs, companies and VAT numbers, that is the categories that produce income and pay the most conspicuous taxes, to pay the final bill of useless, inconsistent and unfair behavior and decisions “.

“As for the responsibilities of what does not depend on closures but what must work, we know for sure that the vaccination campaign still does not work: at current rates, based on our simulation with the average of the last few days, only in the next few days years, and exactly in April 2022, the administration of the first dose will be completed. Who is responsible for this? “

Confcommercio has made an estimate of the losses that will occur with these new closures: “This new deleterious red zone – Di Dio concludes – it will cause further damage to the city economy estimated at approximately 50 million euros. Who and when will reimburse this damage? This week of forced closure will give the final blow to other companies already in agony, we will have the loss of numerous other jobs that will add to the million jobs already lost in Italy. Who pays for it? Inadequacy comes at a cost. A year has passed and it seems to be year zero in the fight against the pandemic ”.