Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Italians defy Covid business shutdowns

As officials talk of tighter lockdown, Italian restaurants open their doors in protest | RT:

January 16, 2020 - "Though much of Italy remains under strict coronavirus restrictions, restaurants and bars have opened their doors in protest. Customers drank, ate, sang, and in one viral video, apparently booted the police back out the door. 

"Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended the country’s three-tier coronavirus restrictions on Friday, imposing a nationwide 10pm to 5am curfew until March and forbidding travel between Italy’s 20 regions until February 15. These measures were originally implemented in [October], and were set to expire on Friday. The extended restrictions haven’t gone down well with bar owners and restaurateurs. Organizing on social media under the hashtag ‘#IoApro’ (I Open), owners threw their doors open on Friday in protest.

"The number of participants is unclear. Before Friday, the #IoApro organizers said that as many as 50,000 restaurateurs were expected to take part. However, reports in Italian media suggest that far fewer actually opened their doors. 

"In one video that went viral on Friday night, the footage apparently shows police attempting to enter a pub, before being bullied out the door by chanting customers.... In at least one restaurant in Florence, nine patrons were fined and the owner was forced to shut altogether for a week, despite Florence being in the ‘Yellow’ zone....

"While restaurant owners may be sick of the country’s tiered restrictions, an adviser to Health Minister Roberto Speranza told Bloomberg on Friday that a return to a strict national lockdown could be on the cards soon. 'We have to limit people’s movement, block everything except essential businesses for two months,' he said."

Read more: https://www.rt.com/news/512744-italy-restaurants-protest-lockdown/

Italy's South Tyrol again flouts Rome over virus closures | Associated Press - Coleen Barry:

January 17, 2021 -"The autonomous province of South Tyrol with its German-speaking majority is flouting Rome’s decision to put it under partial lockdown starting Sunday, with provincial authorities citing its autonomous status to allow stores and restaurants to remain open. Provincial officials are contesting the criteria that prompted the Rome government to designate South Tyrol a red zone, along with Lombardy and Sicily. The designations require authorities to close nonessential businesses and bars all indoor dining, permitting only takeout and delivery.

"Provincial Gov. Arno Kompatscher said he was 'surprised' by the designation. He has registered his disagreement with Italy’s health minister and is taking the province’s case to the technical committee in Rome. But he isn’t waiting for a response, instead allowing all stores to stay open and restaurants to serve until 10 p.m., defying Rome as he did in May when he invoked autonomy to reopen businesses earlier than in the rest of the country.

"Health officials argue that the high percentage of positives is due to additional screenings with antibody tests that are revealing more positives and claim that the technical committee in Rome didn’t take into account its decreasing rate of transmission. The province of 520,000 people has registered more than 800 deaths and nearly 33,000 positive cases.

"Lombardy governor Atilio Fontana also contests his region’s partial lockdown. He is taking his case to an administrative court this week in a bid to get it overturned, his only recourse."

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/business-italy-sicily-coronavirus-pandemic-rome-dd0ec3c88530de59969a70065b52c7a9

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