Italy considers reopening shops earlier following protests

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.
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

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  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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