Once the center of the pandemic in Europe, Italy this month embarked on a gradual loosening of its lockdown provisions. After allowing factories and construction sites to reopen and eateries and bars to offer takeout in early May, on Monday, restaurants, bars, hairdressers and beauticians were given a green light – as long as they observed social distancing and strict hygiene protocols. Shops could also open their doors, though the many shuttered doors and “For Rent” signs on storefronts throughout Italy show the fallout of months of inactivity.
As of Monday, religious celebrations were also allowed, as long as the faithful remained apart. Some dioceses held masses shortly after midnight to celebrate. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Italy was “facing a calculated risk,” by loosening the lockdown, citing recent data suggesting that infection rates remained low, even after Italians picked up their pace. But the government was aware “that the epidemiological curve could go back up.”
For now, Italians can only freely travel within their own region. But in the next phase of reopening, which begins June 3, Italians will be able to move between regions and abroad, barring another outbreak.
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