How Italian authorities are enforcing Coronavirus stay at home rules

With the strict regulations on movement still being flouted in Italy, authorities have stepped up control and enforcement of the ‘stay at home’ rules amid the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Nearly 55,000 people have been fined for disobeying the rules so far. 

On 9 March, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte restricted citizens’ movement to necessary shopping, work, or health reasons. Over the weekend, the rules were tightened to curb recreational activity carried out far away from places of residence. Those found breaking these rules can face up to three months in prison or a fine of up to 206 euros. 

The Italian authorities have been engaging various tactics to enforce the regulations on movement. The government astutely employed the help of social media in the early days of outbreak to persuade citizens to remain at home. A media campaign disseminated the ‘io resto a casa’, or I stay at home, hashtag across various platforms.

Since the first bout of restrictions on 9 March, police have been patrolling streets and city centres carrying out checks on those outside their homes. On leaving the house, people must bring with them a self-certification document stating their reason for being outside. Hundreds of thousands of checks are made daily on drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. 

Parks and gardens are beginning to be closed across the country, including in Milan and Rome, to prevent people going jogging or walking their dogs far away from their houses. The weekend’s new measures limit recreational activity to the immediate vicinity of people’s places of residence. 

As Italy’s cases continue to rise, the army has been called in in the hardest hit region of Lombardy to enforce lockdown rules.  

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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