Covid-19 Italy Update: Lockdown Measures To Be Eased During 'Phase Two'

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 04:51
Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte speaking at press conference

On Sunday night, Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced during a press conference the latest containment measures that will be applied when the so-called ‘phase two’ of the Covid-19 emergency begins on May 4. 

Speaking on TV to Italians, Conte said: “You all showed strength, courage, sense of responsibility and of community. Now the phase of coexistence with the virus begins for everyone and we must be aware that in this new phase, phase two, the curve may go up again in some areas of the country. During phase two, it will be even more important to respect social distancing.” 

"If you love Italy, keep your distance,” Conte said. 

Conte added that it will also be important to use facemasks and announced that the government would impose price control on them (they so far have had outrageous prices), specifying they would be sold at max €0.50.

The prime minister then illustrated what’s new in the decree that will be in place from May 4 for the following two weeks. 

As for the current restrictions, it is only possible to move within the same region for reasons of work, health, urgent needs; what’s new is that it’s now possible to go visit  relatives (to the sixth degree of kinship), boyfriends/girlfriends/partners, in small numbers and with all necessary precautions, including wearing masks, Conte specified. Moving between two different regions is allowed for work, health, emergency reasons and for returning to one's home for those who have remained stranded somewhere else during lockdown (so far, those who were not at their residence as of March 24 had to remain where they were unless they didn’t have a place to stay).

Access to public parks and garden will be allowed again (so far they were all closed), always respecting social distancing; mayors however have the authority to close them if it is not possible to enforce safety rules. Play areas remain closed. 

Restrictions on outdoor physical activity will finally be eased; it will be possible to practice sports farther away from one’s home (the limit of 200 meters from your home is lifted). If done with someone, social distancing must still be enforced (1 meter for walks, 2 meters for running and any brisk activity). Professional athletes can resume their training.  

Attending funerals will be allowed to a maximum of 15 people, who must be first and second degree relatives; ideally, they should be held outdoors. It is not possible yet to go to mass, but measures are being studied to allow that as well. 

There are more stringent rules for those with fever above 37.5 degrees and respiratory symptoms: it is now mandatory to stay at home and notify one’s doctor.

Besides home delivery, which was already allowed, take-away will be possible again, but the food can be consumed at home or in the office, not on the spot or in the street.  

Work activities that will resume on May 4 include manufacturing, construction, real estate and wholesale trade.

Retail shops should reopen on May 18 along with museums and libraries. Hairdressers, beauty salons, bars and restaurants are expected to reopen for dine-in service from June 1.

Schools remain closed.

The number of new cases in Italy, currently at almost 200,000, has continued to decrease for the past few weeks. Italians have been under a strict nationwide lockdown since March 9.   

Below is the press conference held by Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte on April 26 illustrating the so-called 'phase two'. For the frequently asked questions - check this link on the official government website here.