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Bel Air restaurant owner cracks down on carryout, reflects on COVID-19 overseas

Posted at 7:24 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 09:55:31-04

BEL AIR, Md. — A Harford County business owner said he'll be requiring customers to wear masks and gloves if they come into his business to pickup food.

Renato Buontempo of Buontempo Brothers Pizza said the change in policy is to protect the general public from COVID-19 exposure. If customers aren't wearing protective gear they can make use of curbside pickup.

"I don't want to jeopardize my family, my employees, or anyone else," he said.

It may sound like a tough policy but the business owner says he's seen first hand what happens when people don't protect themselves.

"I have family in Naples, Italy," he said. "They have been at home for literally two weeks. They have not been allowed to leave their homes. They can only leave to go to the grocery store or go to the doctor."

Italy is a country on lockdown. The latest numbers show the number of deaths related to the virus is 7,503.

"If everybody stays home and everybody separates, doesn’t share, okay, it will make this will lessen," said Buontempo, reflecting on his birth country.

He isn't alone in his concern.

A video online shows Italians of all ages sharing what they would have told themselves about taking the coronavirus seriously before it devastated the country.

Those featured in the video included activity suggestions to pass the time during quarantine. The clip ended with a final warning to Americans.

"We underestimated this," one person says. "You don't have to do the same."

"A huge mess is about to happen," one woman says.

"The worst-case scenario? That's exactly what will happen," another woman says.

"We underestimated this," said another. "You don't have to do the same."

Buontempo feels the pain of Italy but adds American's need to learn from other countries, even it's their mistakes.

"Stay home," he said. "It's important to remember distance."