Italy PM announces plan to ease coronavirus lockdown
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Sunday (local time) that the manufacturing, construction and wholesale sectors will be able to go back to work beginning on May 4.
They will be followed by retailers, museums, galleries and libraries on May 18 and bars, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons on June 1. Also starting from May 4, people will be allowed to visit their relatives as long as they wear masks, while parks and public gardens will reopen and people will be able to go jogging or bike riding further than 200 metres from their homes, Conte said in a nationally televised speech.
The Prime Minister made the remarks ahead of the end of the national lockdown on May 3, which is to be followed by what he called Phase Two. Funerals will be allowed but with a maximum of 15 participants as long as social distancing requirements are fulfilled. All businesses will have to follow rigorous workplace safety protocols.
Conte said that the government has fixed the price of surgical masks at 50 euro cents each to prevent speculation and promised “massive support” measures for businesses and the tourism sector in order to reopen the economy during Phase Two. “If you love Italy, maintain your inter-personal safety distance to keep the new coronavirus pandemic at bay. We are about to embark on the phase of living with the virus. We must be aware that the curve of the contagion could go back up in some parts of the country,” he added. “The risk is there and we must take it on, methodically and rigorously.
This is why during Phase Two, it will be even more important to maintain the inter-personal safety distance of at least one metre,” the Prime Minister further said. “If we do not respect the distance, the curve will go back up and it could go out of control. Our deaths will increase and at that point, the damage to our economy could become irreversible. Our objective is not to have more people on welfare but more people with jobs,” Conte said.
According to Sputnik, Italy has recorded 260 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, which is the lowest number of daily deaths registered since March 14, the country’s civil protection department said in a statement on Sunday. The death toll stood at 26,644.