By George Stephens • 11 March 2020 • 8:07
What do the latest restrictions mean for daily life in Italy?
On Tuesday, new quarantine measures came into force throughout Italy to battle the Coronavirus spread. The nation of 60 million people has been told to remain at home and avoid all unnecessary travel. The hashtag #iorestoacasa (I stay at home) is being used in a government media campaign and being supported by various Italian celebrities.
Here are the details on how life will be affected in Italy until 3rd April.
Travel is now only being permitted for “urgent, verifiable work situations and emergencies or health reasons.”
In general, people are being urged to stay at home as much as possible, especially if they are exhibiting any symptoms of the virus, or if they are elderly or have underlying health problems putting them at risk. Those showing symptoms have also been told not to go to their GP or to hospital, but to phone the emergency helpline.
Those who must travel for work are obliged to carry a self-certifying document proving their place of work. Road blocks are in place at borders between provinces and controls are being carried out between cities. Documents will also be checked on public transport. Those who flaunt the travel restrictions are liable to a fine or a jail sentence of up to three months.
The government is recommending working at home if possible, or taking leave during this period.
As part of the travel restrictions, family visits have been banned at prisons, causing riots in jails across the nation, and the deaths of six inmates.
Austria has also announced an entry ban on people arriving in the country from Italy by car, train, or plane, unless they show a doctor’s certificate. Austrians who are currently in Italy can return home provided they stay in quarantine for two weeks. Cargo transport, however, will be allowed to cross the border.
Leisure spaces closed
All gyms, libraries, swimming pools, museums, cinemas, theatres, nightclubs and casinos are closed. Wellness centres and ski resorts have also shut.
Bars, restaurants, and ice-cream shops are permitted to open between 6am and 6pm, but they must ensure clientele respect the rule to stay one metre away from each other. Food buffets must not be placed on the counter in bars, and customers must not consume their drinks at the counter.
Shopping centres and department stores can remain open, but must close on public holidays and the day prior to public holidays. Supermarkets are open but one person only from each household is asked to go at a time. Food delivery services are also functioning as normal.
Pharmacies remain open as normal.
No big gatherings
Large gatherings of people, including festivals, meetings, and events, are to be cancelled. This includes weddings, baptisms, and funerals. One funeral went ahead in Sicily despite the ban, with 48 people now facing charges.
Sports matches and events have been cancelled, including the Serie-A league matches. Professional training for top level sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, may be permitted to go ahead, however.
While it is not obligatory to remain at home, authorities are urging people not to congregate in public spaces such as parks and squares.
Schools remain shut
Schools of every level, from nursery to high school, are still closed, as well as universities.
While religious institutions remain open, mass is not being celebrated and visitors must maintain the one metre distance rule. St Peter’s Square and St Peter’s Basilica in Rome have been closed to tourists, but the faithful are permitted to enter to pray.
Rebecca Ann Hughes is a freelance journalist based in Venice and researching the impact of overtourism in the city. She is the author behind the blog La Brutta Figura, and she has also written for the Local, Prospect Magazine, and International Times. Follow her on Twitter.
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