PADOVA, Italy — Lakeland based-missionaries Pat and Brenda Mahar are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus in Italy.


Padova, the city where the couple holds services for their mission, the International Christian Fellowship in Padova, is on a near lockdown.

The Mahars were able to hold a service last Sunday for their mission, but now gatherings of more than a few people are banned by local authorities to stop the spread of the virus.

“If we are caught together in a group we could be fined three thousand euros, which is about $3,500 or we could be imprisoned for about three months," said Pat Mahar.

In addition, the government has ordered all schools and businesses to stay closed except for grocery stores and pharmacies.

“We are hearing a little bit of a rumor that the grocery stories will be closed," said Brenda. "So I think today my husband and I will be going out to get some more groceries to stock up on."

The couple was able to stock up on extra water, food, face masks and hand sanitizer before it all ran out at stores.

The couple said the streets in Padova are nearly deserted as most people are staying in their homes as a precaution. They made a trip to Venice for the annual Carnevale cebration before it was shut down by authorities.

“Still, we don’t know if we could have been affected or infected at that time," Pat told us. "We have to just trust that we are going to come through and there is not going to be any type of adverse reaction."