Italy is to ease its coronavirus lockdown, the toughest and longest in Europe, over the next four weeks, media reported on Friday although there was no official confirmation.
“The next four Mondays will mark the country’s reopening” following the lockdown implemented last month to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, AFP reported citing the Corriere della Sera daily.
The Covid-19 pandemic has killed at least 25,500 people in Italy, the world’s second highest death toll.
“Everything depends on the infection curve,” the best-selling daily said, but if it doesn’t rise again “factories making agricultural and forestry equipment can reopen on (Monday) April 27”.
Building sites as well as the textile and fashion industry can restart on May 4, followed a week later by clothing, shoe and other shops.
Finally, bars, restaurants and hairdressers can reopen on May 18, the paper said.
Other Italian media said that bars and restaurants could reopen some time “in the second half of May”.
The country’s gradual reopening will be accompanied by strict hygiene measures and continued social distancing.
Shops with a surface area of 40 square metres or less will be allowed only one customer at a time.
Bars and restaurants will have to keep a distance of one metre between customers who will preferably not be seated in air conditioned spaces where viruses spread more easily.
Italy’s national lockdown is the longest one currently in force anywhere in the world.
Its stay-at-home orders — introduced on March 9 — have since been replicated by other European nations.
The government ordered all shops except for pharmacies and grocery stores to close on March 12.