On Monday, Italy announced new restrictions after reports show a rising number of coronavirus cases again. The orders include closing nightclubs and requiring masks in outdoor areas.
“We cannot jeopardize the sacrifices made in these last months,” said Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
Though the restrictions appear minor, Italy is attempting to combat the virus without shutting down their entire economy for a second time. Tourists have only just recently begun returning to the country, while many Italians have started traveling as well.
While Italy started this pandemic with some of the highest case numbers in Europe, it has been a leading example of successfully reopening a country. Throughout the summer, Italy has maintained the lowest daily cases count in Europe. However, with the start of school only a month away, officials are beginning to see a rise in daily numbers, specifically among the younger generations. These results have led Italy to focus on areas where young people gather frequently.
“The reason [for the new cases] is mostly young people gathering and behaving like nothing has happened,” said Walter Ricciardi, Italy’s World Health Organization’s government adviser.
Only about 20% of Italy’s nightclubs opened this summer. These clubs had to provide outdoor areas and enforce social distancing measures. Though many club owners have done their best to meet all the requirements, social distancing enforcement has proven impossible.
Maurizio Pasca, head of a nightclub association, stated that closing the clubs isn’t going to solve the problem as people are still congregating on beaches and in the piazzas.
Meanwhile, many health officials have warned that the real test of Italy’s reopening is still to come. More cases are likely to appear in the coming weeks as travelers return home from vacations. Meanwhile, with school resuming and colder weather forcing more people indoors, conditions will be ideal for the virus to spread. Experts warn that more lockdowns might be necessary, though restrictions could be limited to specific towns and not the entire country.