Many Italian bookshops choose not to reopen despite new lockdown easing

ITALIAN authorities have begun gradually lifting lockdown measures, beginning with allowing some businesses to reopen. Bookshops were among those permitted to restart business from Tuesday, but it appears that many bookshop owners are reluctant to pull up the shutters.

A group of 247 bookshop owners from across the country has signed a petition against the decision to allow their reopening. In an open letter to the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, they wrote, “we have no intention of exposing ourselves for the sole purpose of faking a ‘cultural recovery of souls,’ which can only really happen when everyone’s safety is assured.”

In allowing their reopening, the government has now recognised bookshops as “essential” to cultural life, but the booksellers say, “we are happy with this new attention to our work, but we would have also liked it before the government measures to contain the pandemic were put in place, and above all after.”

Tuesday’s new measures also allowed stationery shops and children’s clothes shops to reopen, and permitted computer manufacturers to recommence work and forestry activities to resume.

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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