AGENCIES, Rome: Citizens of Europe’s hardest-hit country Italy can breathe a sigh of relief. After enduring the world’s longest nationwide coronavirus lockdown, for the first time people are being allowed to move out of confinement and visit relatives for the first time in nine weeks.
On Monday, authorities eased back restrictions which facilitated an estimated four million people to get back to work and resume normal working lives.
Restaurants that have managed to survive Italy’s most disastrous crisis in generations will reopen for takeaway service only as bars, ice cream parlours remain shut. The use of public transport is being discouraged and it has been made mandatory for everyone to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had announced a nationwide lockdown on March 9 as the situation due to Covid-19 pandemic began to spread across the country.
Italy’s economy that was Eurozone’s third-largest last year is expected to shrink more than in any year since the global depression of the 1930s.
Italy’s staggered reopening is complicated by a highly decentralised system that allows the country’s 20 regions to layer on their own rules.
Venice’s Veneto and the southern Calabria regions have thus been serving food and drink at bars and restaurants with outdoor seating since last week.
The area around Genoa is thinking of allowing small groups of people to go sailing and reopening its beaches.
Neighbouring Emilia-Romagna is keeping them closed.