Italy considers reopening shops earlier following protests

After Italian shopkeepers and business owners protested in cities across Italy this week, the government is considering allowing reopenings sooner than planned.

Italy considers reopening shops earlier following protests
The government is facing pressure from business groups, and there have been protests by hairdressers and owners of other businesses not yet allowed to reopen under Italy's phase two lockdown rules.
The government is now weighing up whether to bring forward the scheduled reopening of shops, prime minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday.
“The government has no intention of protracting this residual lockdown,” he told business group Rete Imprese Italia.
Many business owners say they may not survive until May 18th or June 1st, when the government has planned the next phased reopenngs.
On May 18th, shops of all kinds are currently set to be allowed to open again, no longer just supermarkets, pharmacies and food shops.
While the government has not yet finalized plans beyond this date, Conte has said they hope to reopen cafes, restaurants, bars, pasticcerie, gelaterie and all other food and drink businesses from the beginning of June.
Hairdressers, beauty salons and massage parlours may also be allowed to open at the same time.
Seating is likely to be limited to maintain distance, while face masks will be required for both staff and customers at hairdressers and salons.
The plans for reopening depend on whether the rate of coronavirus infections in the country continues to fall, the government said.
Some businesses deemed low risk, including bookshops and dry cleaners, were allowed to reopen back in mid-April.
The government has released emergency payments and has allowed business owners to delay paying commercial rents and some taxes during the shutdown – but protesting business owners have said this won't be enough to keep them afloat.

Hairdressers in Venice protesting the shutdown on May 4th. Photo: AFP

Member comments

  1. From the photo of a crowd in the piazza, it looks like there is no social distancing, and a lot of people without masks. I hope there’s not a huge outbreak again after the reopening.

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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.”