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Dreaming of international travel again

It's an update about five months in the making. Ryan Leckey checks back in with Nello Parlato in Sorrento, Italy, to show the contrast of life there versus our area.

SORRENTO, Metropolitan City of Naples — Right now, Americans are not able to vacation in many European countries like Italy, because of international travel restrictions. That has many people from our area wondering when they’ll be able to plan overseas trips again. 

Our own international traveler, Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey got a virtual visit to the southern part of Italy Wednesday morning.

Like some of our viewers, Ryan Leckey has been lucky enough to take a trip to Italy. It’s where he became friends with a hotel worker from Sorrento, named Nello Parlato. 

Nello works at Hotel Minerva.

Last spring, Ryan Leckey contacted Nello Parlato on Zoom to learn how COVID-19 was affecting his country. Wednesday morning, Nello talked about life in Italy now.

He asked Nello, "And how is your family doing and your little girls?"

 "Now, everything is okay. So, we even if we go to the beach, we have to stay away at least one meter from the other people," explained Nello. "But, you know, we're doing everything we do usually. So nothing very strange for them at the moment."

That's much different from last April when near the beginning of the pandemic Nello and his two daughters were forced to stay home, and the streets of Sorrento, his hometown in Southern Italy, were practically deserted. 

Now, five months later, Nello and his Italian neighbors are able to  get out and about with some restrictions. 

"We have to, anytime during the day, so 24 hours when we stay inside any place inside, we have to wear the mask. If we go outside from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., we have to wear the masks even outside," added Nello.

You heard right. Masks are mandatory at all times indoors and are even required outdoors between 6 in the evening and 6 in the morning.

Nello explained what happened if you get caught by the police not wearing your mask.

"The first thing they see, I mean, they ask if we have a mask, if yes, they say ‘wear the mask,’ that’s it. If we don't have a mask, they, then, you know, then we get the note. You know, we have to pay about fifty-five euros," said Nello.

That works out to a fine of about $65 for not wearing a mask in Italy.

A mask is also something Nello and his coworkers at the Hotel Minerva in Sorrento must also wear these days. Guests must also have their temperature taken when they first arrive at the hotel, and socially distancing has been a must since the hotel reopened in August.

He said, "So, it's not really easy for us. But, you know, we are you know, we are trying to do our best anyway. So but anyway, it's important that we work."

Right now, it’s mainly hotel guests from Italy and some other European countries who are keeping people like Nello working.

Current international travel restrictions are keeping American tourists away, which is something Nello hopes will change soon.

 "The Americans are like, you're part of the family. So it's not really a good season, it’s not really a good summer for people from Sorrento, from Italy, because we don't see any Americans. If we don't listen to any accent from America is something strange for us," explained Nello. "We, you know, we miss you. Maybe you miss us as well, so it’s something that we to, again, to put together."

Nello hopes he and American tourists will once again be together, next year when the 2021 tourism season kicks off in Southern Italy in early spring.