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Local family living through coronavirus hassles on both sides of the world


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Alexondra Purnomo is stuck at home, and she’s not allowed to leave. She’s in Italy, where the whole country’s been quarantined over the corona virus.

“Up until yesterday I was going for walks just around the neighborhood, you know, just to get fresh air and to move, but now I’m afraid to even go outside. I don’t want to get a fine,” Alexondra explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton over a Skype call.

The born and raised New Yorker now teaches English at a school in Rome. This is the first day she and everyone in Italy have been fully ordered back into their homes.

“You’re not allowed out without authorized forms. So like if you’re outside and the police stop you and you say, oh, I’m going to a friend’s house, you’ll immediately get a fine,” she says.

Alexondra showed us the form she and her quarantined neighbors need to fill out if they want to leave home, translated to say the only exceptions are work, medical needs, or basic necessities. The only ones open are the pharmacies and grocery stores.

“The lines are outside, everybody’s still one meter apart outside. My friend said that they said 15 people inside and you have 15 minutes to shop,” Alexondra says.

Back here at home, Alexondra’s family feels their own strain from the corona virus. They’re overhauling on keeping clean at their restaurants, Yono’s and DP, an American Brasserie.

“We have scaled-back our hours a little bit during the day to give us a little opportunity to sanitize and disinfect the entire place top to bottom every single day before our dinner guests arrive,” says Dominick Purnomo, Alexondra’s brother.

Dominick says restaurant staff are patrolling the floor every 20 minutes, wiping down tables, doorknobs, pens and check presenters — anything someone might touch.

“We’ve also removed about 30 percent of our tables to allow for some distance so customers can feel more comfortable being around each other,” he explains.

He says this week alone, they’ve unfortunately already seen a double digit dip in customers.

“I’ve heard the same from quite a few other restaurants around town. With the cancellations of the basketball and hockey tournaments, now no gatherings over 500 people, so that eliminates any shows at the Palace, for sure. There will be less business travel, so the hotels will be emptier. It’s certainly a time to be concerned of making sure that we can try to operate on a smaller scale revenue, for sure,” he says.

Dominick posted a letter to Yono and DP customers, assuring them the eateries are following all CDC and WHO standards to ensure their health and safety when dining. He and Alexondra say they both hope the aggressive corona virus response in the U.S. will prevent a massive shutdown like the one affecting family businesses all over Italy.

“I’m thinking about three months ahead, six months ahead, a year ahead. I mean, I don’t know how people are going to make ends meet,” Alexondra says. “This is scary, because it’s the livelihoods, of not only my family, but families all over.”

“Hopefully, you know, everything can get cleared out in a short period of time and everybody can get back to business as usual before too much damage is done,” Dominick says.

For now, the family a world apart is relying on social media to make sure they’re all making it through the pandemic okay.

“Thankfully, through Facetime and Skype, we’ve been pretty fortunate on that end,” Dominick says of keeping in touch. “Hopefully, we’re closer to the end of this than the beginning.”

“I wish they could all stay at home, I know it’s not that easy, but I definitely don’t want my father to catch this,” Alexondra says of her dad’s ongoing health concerns. “I’ve been messaging my mom constantly.”


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