Covid-19 Restrictions Intensify in Italy

New nationwide restrictions to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus are mandated by government decree to begin on Friday, November 6 include the closure of museums, exhibitions and betting halls in addition to shopping malls and centers on the weekend.  The edict, which will remain in effect until December 3, also mandates online classes for all high school students and public transportation (buses, trams and trains) will be limited to to 50% capacity.  A curfew is now in place from 10 pm to 5 am except for those who need to be out and about for “necessity, work or health reasons.”  Cruises are suspended and future ones canceled.  Gyms continue to be closed, while people can exercise in the open air.

These new regulations intensify Italy’s social lockdown declared on October 26.

Italy’s regions are now grouped according to the seriousness of the health emergency into three categories: red, orange and yellow.  Tuscany is rated as a yellow zone, despite the fact that while the number of new Coronavirus cases on November 4 dropped to 1823, there were 45 casualties on the same day (with 24 alone in the province of Florence), an all-time high.  The above limitations are applicable and residents may travel outside the region only to another area that is a yellow zone.

In red zones such as Lombardy, Val d’Aosta, Piedmont and Calabria, restaurants, bars, pubs, ice cream and pastry shops are closed with the exception of those found along the highway.  Restaurants can operate solely for the purpose of preparing take out and delivery orders only up to 10 pm.   Outdoor markets (except for food stalls), shops and nail salons must remain closed.  Hairdressers, pharmacies, supermarkets, hardware stores, newsstands, bakeries and grocery stores will remain open, even those located in shopping centers.  Children can attend school (where masks are mandatory for ages six and above) up to the sixth grade, with remote learning for all other students.  Factories will keep operating.  Residents cannot leave their region, nor travel outside their place of residence except for reasons of work, health or emergency.  Amateur sports events have been cancelled, although individual exercise outdoors is still permitted near one’s home.

In the orange zone, comprising the regions of Puglia and Sicily, restaurants and bars will shut except to prepare take out and delivery orders.  All retail shops except supermarkets, grocery stores, newsstands and pharmacies will close, but hairdressers and nail salons may remain open.  Students can go to school in person up to the third grade.  People cannot travel outside their town or city of residence nor the region where they are living.

To read more in Italian, visit the La Repubblica news site. (rosanna cirigliano)