After an undesired six months of epileptic services, restaurants and bars, museums and cinemas, in most parts of Italy are set to be open to the public amidst strict adherence to a gradual reopening plan that has generated diverse opinions from people.
“It is illusory to think that you give a sign of opening, and you don’t see people around. Perfection doesn’t exist,” said Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala. “You also have to be a little tolerant, and also a little careful.”
Business owners in the hospitality industry have described the return of outdoor dining to be a bit late, with the continued 10 p.m. curfew putting a damper on theater re-openings and sending a bad public relations message for international tourism heading into the second pandemic summer.
“We can only be happy,” waiter Antonio Carullo said. “Because we have many friends who have restaurants who don’t have a lot of space outside, or none at all, and they are still at home, out of work.”
The government hopes that the renewed economic activity of the gradual reopening will be facilitated by 200 billion euros ($241 billion) in EU and Italian recovery funds that was outlined in parliament.
“I am sure that honesty, intelligence and the taste for the future will prevail over corruption, stupidity and vested interests,” Draghi told lawmakers in Rome.
The reopening is coming even as Italy’s intensive care wards remain above the 30% threshold for alarm. Italy’s vaccine campaign is also relatively low, still below its 500,000-shots-a-day goal and is only now moving to protect people in the 70-79 age bracket. The World Health Organization have stated that people above 65 have accounted for the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in Europe, causing concerns among virologists who are worried that the curve in Italy has only recently come under control and could easily spike back up.
Dr. Massimo Puoti, chief of infectious diseases at Milan’s Niguarda hospitals, has stated that Italy’s monitoring system would allow enough warning if the virus delivered another blow.
“That will allow us to return to our usual activity, because we have many patients who don’t have COVID in need of treatment,” Dr. Puoti said, treatments that cannot be scheduled as long as the intensive care wards are under pressure. “Even if a cancer patient can wait for treatment, they are not waiting with serenity.“
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