After nearly two months of being under lockdown, Italy is set to enter “phase two” of its COVID-19 emergency response, beginning May 4.
In a press conference on Sunday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte explained in Italian that the country is managing to contain the spread of coronavirus. He describes it as a “great result if we consider that in the most acute phase there were even times when the epidemic seemed to escape all control.”
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Conte continued to praise the commitment of the Italian people for coming together and adhering to the strict measures put in place to hinder the further spread of the pandemic.
The prime minister explained that the country is now entering a “phase of coexistence” with the virus in which all residents and citizens must be aware that, during “phase two,” there is a possibility of the contagion curve going up again in some areas of the country.
“This risk is there,” Conte stated. “In phase two, it will be even more important to keep the safety distances.”
In addition to physical distancing, the usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) will also be vital.
In terms of travel, individuals will be permitted to journey within the same region for the purposes of work, health, and as a necessity to visit relatives. Those wishing to travel outside of their region will be able to do so for work, health, “urgency reasons,” and to return home.
It is mandatory for all individuals to wear masks on public transport.
Residents will once again be able to access public parks so long as they adhere to distancing requirements. Entrance to children’s play areas will be regulated. However, schools will not reopen until September.
Regarding religious ceremonies, funerals will be permitted, but attendance can only include a maximum of 15 “first- and second-degree relatives.” Additionally, new measures will be researched in the coming days with regards to those wishing to participate in religious celebrations “as soon as possible in conditions of maximum security.”
Stricter rules have also been established for those with a fever of 37.5°C (99.5°F) or above and respiratory symptoms. Individuals with these conditions are required to stay home and notify their physician.
In the press conference, Conte also stated that beginning May 4, manufacturing, construction, real estate brokerage, and wholesale trade will be able to resume.
As such, starting April 27, these industries are permitted to begin preparatory procedures for reopening, including the sanitization of workplaces to ensure the safety of staff.
Additionally, restaurants will be able to reopen for takeout services on top of delivery.
Hair and beauty salons, bars, and restaurants are anticipated to open for service beginning June 1.
Retail shops are set to reopen on May 18, along with museums and libraries.
Also beginning May 4, closed-door training sessions for individual athletes will be permitted to allow for the gradual resumption of sporting activities, with teams anticipated to be able to practice in groups beginning May 18.
“If we do not respect the precautions the curve will go up, the deaths will increase, and we will have irreversible damage to our economy,” Conte said. “If you love Italy, keep your distance.”