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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Coronavirus: 'One third of Rome's restaurants will not reopen'

Italy's empty restaurants to hold a flash mob protest tonight.

At least three out of 10 Roman restaurants risk not reopening after Italy lifts its lockdown measures, according to a report by CNA, the national confederation of the craft sector and small-medium businesses.

The outlook is even more bleak for the retail sector, with four out of 10 stores in the capital likely to stay closed according to estimates by CNA, as reported by Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

The CNA predicts that 2,500 restaurants and 2,300 bars risk closing their doors for good, with a similar fate facing 390 gelaterie, according to Rome daily newspaper Il Messaggero.

The CNA report comes as Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte unveiled the Phase Two plan in the coronavirus emergency, outlining the timeline for reopening businesses since the lockdown was introduced on 10 March.

Conte announced that clothes shops could reopen from 18 May, observing strict social distancing measures.

From 4 May restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate a take-away service - in addition to home delivery which is currently permitted - with a tentative reopening date on 1 June. 

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"Postponing the reopening to 1 June means the death of the restaurant sector," stated Federcuochi, the federation of Italian chefs, launching a cry for help to avoid "economic tragedy", reports Il Messaggero.

Italy's so-called ghost restaurants will hold a flash mob protest at 21.00 on 28 April by switching on their lights and setting their tables for imaginary guests, followed the next morning with the symbolic act of owners handing over their keys to the local authorities.

The move is part of the appeal-protest Risorgiamo Italia launched by Paolo Bianchini of the Osteria del Vecchio Orologio in Viterbo, who says restaurant owners are being asked to reopen "with the same costs, if not more than before the emergency, with takings at best forecast at 30 per cent" compared to previous years.

To read the 16 demands by Risorgiamo Italia see food and restaurant website Scatti di Gusto.
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