People line up to enter a supermarket, keeping the proscribed social distance from one another and entering a few at a time, in keeping with measures introduced by the Italian government to slow the spread of the coronavirus, in Rome, March 10, 2020.
"Lemon trees, like Italians, seem to be happiest when they are touching one another,” wrote British novelist D.H. Lawrence in his travelogue, "Sea and Sardinia." The lemon trees are still touching, but now the unspoken rule for people is non toccare (no touching).
This month, many Italians started pulling off mesh and plastic covers from their lemon trees, no longer worried that they need insulation from frost — a collective unveiling marking the end of winter and traditionally preluding warm sun and glorious Mediterranean summer days ahead.
But other traditions have been banished by the coronavirus, and the Italian government’s desperate bid to counter its spread, from no touching to no hugging and absolutely no demonstrative light cheek kissing, otherwise known as il bacetto.
Another unusual sight is to see Italians taking their place orderly in line.
To enter food stores Italians are standing the required one meter apart, and all this standing in line is without the usual feints and excuses to jump ahead.
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