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Italian town orders men and women to shop on alternate days under lockdown

Mixed-sex shopping has been banned in the small municipality of Canonica d'Adda in Italy's northern Lombardy region, under the latest local lockdown rules.

Italian town orders men and women to shop on alternate days under lockdown
An all-female queue for the supermarket in Canonica d'Adda on Tuesday April 7th. Photo: AFP

Men and women will have to shop separately from now on in the small municipality of Canonica d'Adda in Italy's northern Lombardy region, the mayor has ruled.

To lower the number of people in supermarkets and reduce the risk of coronavirus contagion, the mayor has decreed that men and women will shop on different days, in the latest example of local authorities across Italy bringing in all kinds of different rules.

“Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays you can go to the bakery,” a policewoman told a woman waiting in line outside a big supermarket on Tuesday.

“Your husband can go on the other days, however.”

Those breaking the rule face a fine of up to 400 euros ($435).

A police officer speaks to women outside a supermarket in Canonica d'Adda on Tuesday April 7th. Photo: AFP

Canonica d'Adda is not far from Bergamo, considered the worst affected area in the region of Lombardy, where more than 9,000 people have died of coronavirus – more than half of the total deaths in the country.

Canonica d'Adda's mayor, Gianmaria Ceria, said coronavirus had killed about 20 people in the comune of about 4,400 inhabitants.

The separation by sex for shopping was decided “to protect public health”, he said. “I have to guarantee public safety even if that may bring criticism.”

Some 60 million Italians have been under quarantine for over a month – in Lombardy, people have been under restrictions for even longer, with some areas considered “red zones” where movements were restricted.

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Cinzia Invernizzi, a retired woman of 62, said she had no problems with Canonica d'Adda's rule.

Still, she added, “I don't get why the men have one day more, even though 80 percent of food shopping is done by women and not by men.”

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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