Covid-19: Rome combats weekend crowds by closing stores and metro stations

Rome police and Lazio Region to tackle crowds at weekends.

Rome's central metro stations at Spagna and Flaminio are to be closed this weekend from mid-morning until early evening, to reduce crowds in the city centre, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The two metro stations at the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo are expected to close from 10.00 until 19.00 or possibly 20.00, according to ANSA, with a limited number of people allowed to enter the area around Via del Corso in the centre.

There will be four access points to the so-called Tridente area - Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna, Largo Goldoni and Largo Chigi - where police will monitor the flow of people.

A helicopter will be flying overhead to inform officers when the "saturation point" is reached. Similar measures are expected in the Prati area in the shopping streets around Via Cola di Rienzo.

Rome's large department stores, such as Ikea and Decathlon, are also set to be closed on Sundays by the Lazio Region in a bid to tackle crowds to reduce the risk of covid-19 infections, according to reports in local media.

The Lazio Region order, currently being finalised, is also expected to close large markets such as Porta Portese which remained open last Sunday as Italy shut down shopping malls at weekends under its latest emergency decree to combat the escalating covid-19 crisis.

The closure is expected to close all large stores, measuring upwards of 2,500 sqm. The closure of markets is not expected to affect those selling food.

Lazio regional health councillor Alessio D'Amato said there will be "an extraordinary effort" by police to ensure that no crowds build up on shopping streets in the city centre or at beaches and parks.

Lazio is currently a yellow zone however "it doesn't take much to get to the red zone if rigorous behaviour is not maintained" - D'Amato told Adnkronos news agency.

"We must avoid gatherings like those that took place over the last weekend, especially in some areas of Rome and the coast" - said D'Amato - "Let's not undermine the efforts made so far."

Photo La Repubblica