Italy’s PM angered over nightlife and crowds

AN easing of lockdown measures combined with summer weather has seen bars and outdoor spaces filled with crowds in some Italian cities. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned that this is not the time for parties and Italy will reintroduce restrictions if rules continue to be flouted.

On Monday, Italy saw many of its stringent lockdown measures lifted meaning friends can now see each other, bars and restaurants are open, and people no longer need to complete a self-certification form providing a valid reason for leaving the house.

In some areas, the result has been big crowds congregating outside bars and in public spaces to enjoy evening aperitifs, causing anger from authorities.

“It’s not the time for parties, nightlife, or gatherings,” Conte said. “During this phase, more than ever it’s fundamental to respect security distances and wear masks, where necessary.”

There remains the requirement to stay one metre from others, meaning bars and restaurants have had to separate tables and put tape markings on the floor at the bar counter to indicate where customers should stand.

It seems, however, that these social distancing measures are being waived aside in some areas. In Padua, in the northern region of the Veneto, groups of bar-goers packed together prompted fury from regional president Luca Zaia.

“In 10 days, I’ll see the infection rates. If they rise, we’ll close bars, restaurants, beaches and we’ll lock ourselves back up again,” he warned. “No one wants to ban spritzes but I’m asking that we avoid gatherings and we wear masks until June 2.”

Italy’s police will be controlling popular nightlife areas and can issue fines of €400 to €3,000 to those found breaking the rules.

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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