Coronavirus: Italy to ease lockdown from 4 May

Conte unveils Phase Two plan as Italy prepares to exit lockdown.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has unveiled details of Italy's Phase Two plan in the coronavirus emergency, outlining the gradual loosening of the restrictions in place since the country went into lockdown on 10 March.

The current period of quarantine and restrictive measures expires on 3 May, with Phase Two - "co-existing with the virus" - beginning cautiously on 4 May, with social distancing to remain in place.

Conte thanked Italians for their sacrifice, strength, courage and sense of responsibility in a live address broadcast on the evening of 26 April. However he warned of the risk that the coronavirus curve could rise again, stating that it was fundamental for the public to maintain social distancing measures.

"If you love Italy keep your distance," said Conte who added that the price of protective face masks would be reduced and fixed at 50 cent.

From 4 May people will be allowed to move around within the region in which they live, with greater freedom for outdoor excerise and the chance to visit family members, all while maintaining social distancing.

However the ban on travel between different regions of Italy remains in place, except for proven reasons of work, health or emergencies.

Gatherings of any kind, private or public, will remain strictly banned. Public parks, gardens and villas can reopen from 4 May but mayors will have the power to close them if necessary.

People can go walking and jogging away from their home so long as they practice social distancing: two metres apart for joggers, one metre for walkers.

Trade

Factories and building sites can reopen from 4 May however public construction projects can get back to work from 27 April, as can manufacturing and wholesale trade related to exports.

Retail

The commerical sector including clothes shops will reopen on 18 May, with strict rules on social distancing.

Museums

Museums, galleries, libraries and places of culture are to reopen on 18 May.

Restaurants

From 4 May restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate a take-away service - in addition to home delivery which is already permitted. However Conte warned that this didn't mean people could gather or eat outside the premises.

The government has identified 1 June as the date when bars and restaurants can reopen.

Hairdressers

Barbers, hairdressers and beauty salons can reopen on 1 June.

Transport

Protective face masks will be mandatory for commuters on public transport, with restricted numbers on buses and trains especially during rush hour.

Sport

Professional athletes including Serie A footballers can resume individual training on 4 May, with group training to begin again on 18 May.

Funerals

From 4 May funerals can be attended by a maximum of 15 mourners, while respecting social distancing measures and wearing protective masks.

Schools

Conte confirmed that Italy's schools will reopen in September, as he outlined in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica earlier the same day.

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Coronavirus

The news comes the same day as Italy registered its fewest coronavirus-related deaths since the early days of the lockdown, reporting 260 fatalities over the last 24 hours - compared to 415 the day before. 

This article is being updated.

Photo La Repubblica

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