Restaurants and museums reopen as Italy relaxes curbs

Italy relaxed coronavirus restrictions in most of its regions on Monday, allowing greater freedom to travel and resume during the day for bars, restaurants and museums.

The government announced a easing of restrictions on Friday, even after the World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts warned that the move may be premature.

Sixteen regions are now in the “yellow” category with lower risk, while five – Sicily, Sardinia and Puglia in the south, Umbria in the center and South Tyrol in the north – are still “orange”.

In Rome, located in the “yellow” region of Lazio, the Colosseum and other tourist attractions such as the Pantheon and the Borghese Gallery opened their doors.

The Vatican also eased coronavirus restrictions, allowing visitors to return to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel after being closed for 88 days – the longest closure since World War II.

However, museums can only stay open in “yellow” regions during the week.

In “orange” areas, bars and restaurants are restricted to pick-up or drop-off, people cannot leave their homes except for work or urgent needs, and museums remain closed.

A nationwide curfew remains from 22.00 to 05.00, together with social distancing and masking in public.

The country has been one of the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 2.5 million infections and about 88,500 deaths from Covid-19. It registered 11,252 new cases of coronavirus and 237 deaths on Sunday.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the return to yellow zones “does not mean the danger is over”.

“We still need the utmost caution if we do not want to reverse the gains made in recent weeks.”

(AFP)