Covid-19 Restrictions in Italy Spark Violent Protests

Eight days ago, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree  to deal with a second wave of Covid-19,  but the virus in Italy continues to spread faster and hit deeper despite that containment measure.

Between Saturday, October 24 and Sunday, October 25,  Italy reported a huge increase in  infections, from 19.644 to 21.273, which  pushed Conte to adopt yet another decree. 

The previous decree was bitterly criticized for being unable to contain the outbreak.  More than 100 scientists addressed  their concerns in a speech to President Sergio Mattarella- the President of the Italian Republic –  and Conte asking for “drastic measures” as soon as possible to manage the growth of the virus that, at this moment, is out of control.

Last week’s measures, particularly the curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.  in Lombardy and in some Regions from midnight to 5 a.m., were criticized for not going far enough and proof that Conte lacked the courage to implement stricter measures. 

On the other  side, Conte was  pressured by the Regions to avoid restrictions on businesses which would impact the economic rebound, especially after the spring lockdown and the decrease of the tourism during the summer holidays.

The result of the fight between Conte and the Regions is a tightening of last week restrictions nationwide in order to curb the pandemic and avoid a second lockdown.

The measures, which will stay in force until November 24, include:

  • Gym and Pools will close;
  • Skiing is not allowed, but all the other contactless sports can be performed;
  • Theatres, concerts, and cinemas will close, but museums will remain open;
  • Primary and secondary schools will remain open;
  • High schools and university will work at 75% remotely and for the remaining time, students will attend classes at different times to avoid overcrowding on public transport;
  • Bars and restaurants (except those in hospitals and on the highways) will stop serving at 6 p.m. and the number of people per table reduced from six to four; 
  • Mayors can decide whether to close the most populated streets after 9 p.m.;
  • Shopping centers will close on weekends, but grocery stores will remain open;
  • Public institutions will keep working remotely;
  • Private offices are invited to work remotely;
  • All the Regions are allowed to take more restrictive measures;
  • Private parties and ceremonies are forbidden;
  • Home dinners with friends are highly discouraged and masks are required when not with cohabitants;
  • Traveling between cities is allowed.

The latest decree still contains several contradictions, For example, team training sessions are not allowed,  but professional leagues (above all soccer teams where the championship could close for lack of infected players!) can play behind closed doors. Also, schools are open, despite the risk is high for the virus spreading among children and the fact that many  classes are already in quarantine. And the decree doesn’t cover other school activities, such as catechism.

The day after the decree, restaurateurs and show business workers mounted protests. The Regions warned that the restrictions would provoke more violent protests in some areas. On October 24, in Naples in the Campania Region, activists, wearing face coverings, rose up against the curfew imposed by Governor Vincenzo De Luca. Protestors set garbage cans on fire and fought against the police and essentially took over the city. On October 25, Molotov cocktails were thrown in Milan and there was looting in Turin  (Piedmont). 

Those businesses that will be most affected by the shutdowns are asking the government for help. It’s been eight months since the emergency began and activities have been suspended. A law decree is expected in a few days to provide indemnity. The Prime Ministry said: “Compensation is already ready for the benefit of all those will be penalized by the new measures.” But, in the past, just a few have benefited from the promised help that delivered a very small account (600 Euros per month with several restrictions).

Many regard the decrees as a slow, but inexorable walk, towards a second nationwide lockdown that would severely impact the country.

Photos by Federica de Cintio

About Federica di Cintio (10 Articles)
Federica di Cintio was born in Italy and graduated from the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore in Milan. An attorney, she specializes in contracts, family, and fashion law. In 2018, she was granted admission to practice before the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court. Her admiration for the world of fashion pushed her to attend the Istituto Europeo di Design Milan, graduating with a focus on brand extension and licensing. She frequently covers the fashion shows in Milan for Woman Around Town. Her passion for fitness has inspired her to create videos and articles to inspire others to live a healthy life. A lover of American culture, Federica enjoys the opportunity to share her expertise with WAT’s readers.