SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

Italian region imposes 1,000-euro fines for not wearing masks

One Italian region is getting tough on places that do not respect the compulsory face mask rule with regional chief warning "if our fellow citizens think that the problem is resolved, that means that within a few weeks we will return to a grave emergency."

Italian region imposes 1,000-euro fines for not wearing masks
Photo: AFP

Three businesses in the southern Italian city of Salerno are the first to fall foul of tough new anti-coronavirus 
regulations imposed by the region of Campania, local media reported Sunday.

The three businesses, which include a bar and a hairdresser, were hit with 1,000-euro ($1,166) fines after police found they had not respected an edict imposed on Friday that requires people to wear masks in enclosed spaces. 

“If our fellow citizens think that the problem is resolved, that means that within a few weeks we will return to a grave emergency,” Vincenzo De Luca, the president of Campania, which includes Naples, posted on Facebook on Friday.

“We knew that there would be an increase in contamination, it was widely expected,” he said, a few hours before the publication of an order toughening the rules to fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: What's the latest news on travel from the US to Italy?

The key measure of the text is a fine of 1,000 euros for anyone who does not wear a mask in an enclosed space, whether in public buildings, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, shops or on public transport.

According to the new regulations, “transport operators are required to deny access to passengers who do not wear the mask”. 

If they are on board, they must be sanctioned and “invited to disembark immediately or as soon as possible”. If they refuse, “the bus or train will be blocked” and the “intervention of the police will be requested”.

Businesses are also being held responsible “if the offence is committed in the exercise of a commercial activity”. 

Apart from a 1,000-euro fine, the business could face closure from five to 30 days. 

Italy was the first country in Europe to be affected by coronavirus. More than 35,000 people have died and there have been over 242,000 cases of contamination. 

Saturday saw 275 new cases as well as five deaths.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

SHOW COMMENTS