The government will allow free movement across the country from that day. Some regions had been pushing for a faster rollback, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte insisted on a gradual return to normal to avoid a second wave of infections.
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More than 31,600 Italians have died from COVID-19 since the epidemic was revealed on February 21, the third highest death toll in the world after that of the United States and Great Britain.
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In an effort to contain the contagion, Italy was the first European country to impose national restrictions in March, not sanctioning an initial relaxation of the rules until May 4, when factories and parks reopened. .
The stores are scheduled to open on May 18 and the government has decided that all movements in the various regions should be authorized on the same day, which means people will be able to visit friends.
The ban on interregional and foreign travel will remain in effect until after the June 2 vacation in Italy, preventing any mass travel during this extended weekend.
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But all travel restrictions will be lifted from June 3 – a milestone on the road to Italy’s recovery, with government hoping to save next holiday season when Italians traditionally escape cities for vacation annual summer.
Regions can reactivate all sectors of the economy that may still be closed, as long as security protocols are respected. National health authorities will monitor the situation to ensure that infections are controlled, according to the decree.
Shops and restaurants across the country are preparing to reopen under strict social distancing and hygiene rules, as recommended by health officials.
“The challenge is enormous, so great that it is difficult to quantify, and above all there is uncertainty. The feeling of uncertainty dominates everything, “said Alberto Volpe, director of a clothing store in central Rome.