Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave mayors the power to close public seats from 1 p.m. 21 to halt rallies as he unveiled a further package of measures Sunday to try to halt a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases.
When daily cases in Italy hit a new record 11,705 on Sunday, Conte said the situation had become critical, but his government has been determined to avoid repeating the lockdown imposed at the start of the crisis in March.
“The situation is critical. The government is there, but everyone must do their part, “he told a news conference.
In addition to ordering betting shops to close from 6 p.m. 21 and halt amateur sports competitions and local fairs, he said the government would consider closing gyms and swimming pools after further scrutiny of safety protocols this week.
Italy was the first country in Europe to be hit hard by Covid-19 and has the second highest number of deaths in the region after the UK with 36,543 deaths since the eruption flared up in February, according to official figures.
Authorities had managed to get the infection largely under control in the summer thanks to a rigid two-month nationwide lockdown, but as another wave has emerged, they have ordered new measures, including mandatory mask wearing in public and restrictions on public gatherings and restaurants.
Covid-related deaths on Sunday rose to 69, compared with 47 the day before, the ministry said – far fewer than at the height of the pandemic in Italy in March and April, when daily deaths peaked at more than 900.
The government wants to increase smart work in the public administration and asks the high schools to adopt staggered timetables to avoid congestion on public transport.
Restaurants and other grocery stores are allowed to remain open until midnight, but can only serve seated customers after
Stricter measures have already been put in place in some of the hardest-hit regions, including Campania around Naples, which has closed schools for two weeks.
As part of a new € 40 billion stimulus package approved by the government in its 2021 budget, Rome is setting up a € 4 billion fund to compensate companies hardest hit by coronavirus restrictions.