Restaurants and bars have reopened across Italy as the country eases long-standing COVID-19 restrictions.
For a second year in a row, Italy is basing its hopes on a spring restart, reestablishing the âyellow zonesâ, where the infection rate is low enough to ease restrictions.
Iconic sites such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon have also reopened, but only to a trickle of tourists.
Lorenzo Lisi is the owner of the famous Pierluigi restaurant in Rome, in business since 1938. He told CGTN Europe that there has never been a more difficult time: “Especially because we were the first country to face it. to the pandemic and to realize that we are the last to emerge from it is very disturbing. “
After two months of lockdown, tables in the picturesque Piazza de’Ricci were finally set for lunch – but the wait for dinners was even longer. âDinner is the most important moment in the restaurant and the most important moment in the Italian experience and this has not happened since October 2020,â said Lisi.
Almost all school classes have returned and theaters and cinemas have reopened, with limited numbers. Travel between yellow regions is also now allowed.
The director of the Lazio region, Paolo Giuntarelli, declared that it was a crucial day economically and culturally: “It is a very important moment for us, to have the possibility of welcoming people again, because Rome in this season is beautiful. ”
Not all rules have been relaxed, at this point the Draghi government says the national 10 p.m. curfew will remain in effect until at least mid-May.
Restaurant owners say it is not doable and are fighting to have it extended until 11 p.m.
Lisi added that “having to close at 10pm means we can only schedule one service to our customers, and only allow us to employ our servers and chefs for three hours of dinner service.”
However, with an average of 15,000 new COVID cases every day and a stubbornly high daily death toll, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has claimed that a slow and steady reopening is the safest route.