On Monday, Italy moved into phase two of its nationwide quarantine by loosening a broad range of restrictions in the Covid-19 crisis.
With coronavirus deaths at its lowest since a nationwide lockdown began on March 10, the second stage reopens parks and allows residents to exercise outdoors, but within 200 meters of their homes. Another somewhat relaxed measure is burials. Now, up to 15 people can attend funerals, but baptisms, weddings and religious congregations are still forbidden.
Italians are also able to visit relatives, but those who are dating, with the exception of engaged couples, must remain apart. For those who must travel, they must carry a self-reported form. Yet, if you travel from northern Italy to the southern part of the country, some regions require northern residents to enter into an obligatory quarantine when they visit.
Couple walks dogs along the Arno River in Florence, Italy
Since quarantine started, only grocery stores, outdoor food markets, pharmacies, news stands and tobacco stores were permitted to remain open. In mid-April, stationary stores, children’s clothing, dry cleaners and bookstores slowly welcomed customers. Now, professionals and construction workers can go back to work, while cafes and restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway, but most eateries will not open fully until June 1.
“We must maintain social distancing, maximum hygiene levels, and masks. We’ve done our bit to the best of our ability,” said Italy’s emergency response commissioner Domenico Arcuri this past Saturday at a press conference.
Beekeeper at Sant’Ambrogio market sells honey.
The Giuseppe Conte Administration announced that they will gradually slacken restrictions as they assess the progress of the health of the country. However, one mandate that has an unforeseeable future is wearing masks and social distancing. To ensure that residents have access to masks, the government passed a cap on costs to 50 cents. As well, they announced that they will produce 4 million masks by the end of June and 35 million by August.
In person classrooms are in limbo, but fresh air needed
Although the Conte Administration has yet to make a public announcement on the future of schools, they are sure that classroom sizes will reduce dramatically.
An immediate measure Italy wants to implement is getting children outdoors. Modeling after Denmark and Norway, the administration considers opening day nurseries and botanicals to children from zero to six. For primary and secondary schools, playgrounds and gyms will be used, while the country also considers museums, parks and forests for students to participate in micro-groups of six or less.
For certain, Italy is working on “one big digital platform” said its education minister, Lucia Azzolina.
During the lockdown students and teachers encountered many issues in their transition from in-person to online teaching. “It’s hard to follow,” said Lapo, a secondary student who follows his assignments through his phone and on his laptop.
“The teacher gives us work, but there is very little explanation, or sometimes, she sends long emails that are hard to follow,” he explained.
As Italy adjusts to life after its peak of Covid-19 cases, it says that its phase three will occur after a vaccine is introduced and implemented.
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