ROME: Italy will reopen for regional and international travel from June 3 as the country’s coronavirus crisis subsides.
The removal of travel restrictions, as well as the removal of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for overseas arrivals, precedes the summer season in Europe. Tourism accounts for 13% of Italy’s gross domestic product.
The foreclosure of Italy began on March 9 and ended on May 17, imposing the toughest measures in Europe to contain the spread of the virus. More than 31,600 people have died in Italy from COVID-19 since February, making it the third highest death toll in the world behind the United States and the United Kingdom.
But the daily death toll fell to 153 on Saturday, the lowest since the lockdown began.
“People can go wherever they want – to a store, to the mountains, to a lake or to the seaside,” said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, announcing the end of most restrictions beginning earlier this month next. “We are ready throughout Italy to find our tourists. Rome is unique. Italy is unique. And we will do whatever it takes to share our beauty and our art with the rest of the world that has suffered too much from this pandemic. “
The government has said people will no longer have to justify travel to their own area and may meet friends and family. Travel will only be limited if an area is considered to be at high risk for coronavirus infections.
Regions in the south, less infected than those in the north, such as Lombardy and Veneto, had called for a quicker removal of the restrictions, but Conte wanted a gradual return to normality for fear of a second wave of infection.
But certain preventive measures will remain – such as social isolation – and these will have to be strictly applied.
Pier Giovanni Barducci manages a beach in Rimini on the Adriatic coast which is popular with Russian, German and British holidaymakers. “People may have to come to the beach with a mask, but who cares? He told Arab News. “We are going to make raincoats, even elegant ones with their colors to match the swimsuits so that swimmers and swimmers have less trouble wearing them.”
Regulating the Ministry of Health for his business was difficult because it would lose capacity, he said. “But we have to go back to work,” added Barducci. “Otherwise, we will all be dead even if the coronavirus did not kill us. Italians have a lot of inventiveness. We will find a way one way or another. “
Other business owners were also eagerly awaiting the return of tourists and income. Giulio Zonin manages the Savoia Hotel, which is close to the popular and picturesque Rialto Bridge in Venice. “We hope to work with tourists from neighboring countries who can travel here by car,” he told Arab News. “People from Austria, Switzerland and Germany can come here after only a few hours on the road, so we are sure they will be back soon.”
Preparations were also underway further south to welcome people again after months of economic downturn.
Sardinia’s governor Christian Solinas told Italian business newspaper Il Sole 24 ore that the island’s airports were once again open to private jets.
“We are COVID-19 free throughout the island, so the Costa Smeralda can come back to life,” he said, referring to the billionaire’s vacation destination.
Regions are allowed to reactivate all sectors of the economy as long as security protocols and social distancing measures are respected. Restaurants can reopen if customers are kept three feet apart, with face masks required for staff and customers when they are not at the table.
Conte described the decision to lift the curbs as a calculated risk. “We face this risk and we must accept it because otherwise we will never do it again. “
He said theaters and cinemas could reopen with precautions in place from June 15, but “more certainty” was needed to restart the Italian Serie A football league.