The Streets of Venice Are Eerily Empty Due to Coronavirus Worries

And some tourists are taking advantage of the situation

Venice
An unusually quiet San Marco square in Venice
ANDREA PATTARO/AFP via Getty Images
By Kirk Miller / March 2, 2020 11:00 am

Over five million tourists flock to Venice every year. Their presence was becoming a hazard; we opined at one point that the sheer mass of outsiders was “killing the city.”

But the growing concern over coronavirus — which has impacted Italy particularly hard — has had one interesting side effect: Venice is nearly empty.

As the Wall Street Journal (via DMarge) points out, “As Italy battles the coronavirus, tourists are shunning trips and Venice faces a big loss of business.” As well, the U.S. government has warned against non-essential travel to the entire country of Italy, a “final blow” to the tourism industry as the head of Italy’s hotel federation recently noted. And this loss of tourism arrives soon after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years.

Anecdotally, the streets of Venice seem quiet, and that’s wonderful for people who are visiting…though not so much for the shopkeepers.

If you do visit, you should follow advice from the World Health Organization and watch for symptoms. And maybe don’t shake hands while you’re on the road.

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