Italy Reopens Shops, Restaurants in Latest Lockdown Lift — What to Know
In what Italy's Prime Minister described as a “calculated risk” the country has continued along the course of its reopening plan.
Businesses like shops, restaurants, and hair salons are reopening under strict guidelines set by the federal government, according to The Local Italy. Governors of 10 regions announced they would “act autonomously” if federal regulations did not permit the reopening of shops this week.
However some shops that particularly rely on foreign tourists will likely wait to reopen until June 3, when border restrictions within the EU lift. Travelers will be able to move from region to region and across European borders without needing to isolate for two weeks.
Residents are allowed to move about freely without documentation providing the reason for their trip.
Milan’s popular Rinascente department store is implementing a phased reopening with the help of technology. Security guards will monitor how many people are in the store at a time with a new app. Clothing that is brought into fitting rooms will be quarantined for 24 hours after. And in the department store’s restaurants, only families will be allowed to sit close together.
“The hope is to take a step towards normality. It won’t be business as usual given all the protocols, but this is the new normal for now and we have to accept it,” Rinascente’s Chief Executive Pierluigi Cocchini told Reuters.
Catholic churches were also allowed to reopen for mass on Monday, permitting that congregations obey rules of social distancing and wear face masks.
The Vatican is still undergoing precautionary measures before it reopens. Cleaners in head-to-toe hazmat suits bleached and disinfected surfaces of St. Peter’s Basilica over the weekend, Reuters reported. The church has technically remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but only for private prayer and only a few have entered.
When St. Peter’s Basilica reopens for masses — a date that hasn't been announced yet — worshippers will have to undergo thermal temperature tests before they can enter.
Gyms and swimming pools are expected to reopen on May 25. Cinemas and theatres are planned to reopen June 15.
"We're facing a calculated risk in the knowledge that the contagion curve may rise again," Prime Minister Conte said in a televised address over the weekend, according to The BBC. "We have to accept it otherwise we will never be able to start up again."
Lockdown regulations have already varied greatly from state to state but most restaurants and cafes were allowed to reopen with takeout service only.
Italy has had more than 225,400 confirmed cases of the virus and at least 31,900 deaths since the outbreak in February, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.