Most would be shocked to learn that one of the worlds most popular tourist destinations has become empty. Venice is typically filled with thousands of tourists during this period, as February is when the Carnival arrives at this floating city. That means booked hotels and limited restaurant space, with shopping centres overconsumed with human life and tourist destinations to crowded for one to breathe. However, this has all changed with the growing rate of infection related to the coronavirus. Individuals that have lived in Venice for decades have expressed that the city hasn’t been this empty since the war.
Italian Health Officials confirmed last week that they’d experienced a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases, with there even being two deaths related to this disease. It prompted for Venice Politicians to terminate the Grand Carnival Finale only a few hours before it was slated to begin. Christians in Italy are considering this the worst start to Lent in recent memory. It should be noted that these same government officials demanded that churches, museums and schools shut down immediately. This extended to the infamous “La Fenice Opera House”, meaning all that was left were the few restaurants still open. Managers and waiters tried to convince tourists to stay, with the overwhelming majority cancelling their booked reservations and returning home for self-quarantine.
Shutting down the Carnival is one of the most significant blows to Venice’s economy, which has already been struggling in recent months with increased flooding. It’s expected that upwards of $2.2 billion will be lost from these floods and now the coronavirus outbreak, with city staff still repairing damages from earlier this year. Since the virus began to spread across Italy, more than 66% of reservations for the coming weeks have been terminated. It’s resulted in 650 of the 800 Venice Hotels to offer “Super Deals” on websites like Booking.com or Trivago.
Venice is one of the best locations for quarantine, with the term first being created in this floating city during the 14th century. There have been many instances since that era where Venice has shut down their lagoon and stopped the rate of infection. It allowed them to survive the Black Plague, SARS and will enable them to overcome the coronavirus. What they won’t easily overcome is the $1.5 billion in damages from the November 12th flooding.