All of Tuscany is returning to “orange” zone status on Saturday, April 17 starting at 2 pm. While Tuscany had already been designated a “orange” zone starting on Monday, April 12, with less strict anti-Covid limitations, both the province of Prato and the Florence metropolitan area with its 995,000 residents in addition to nine towns in the provinces of Pisa and Siena remained in the restrictive “red” zone. These areas had a contagion rate that exceeded 250 people per 100,000 inhabitants and the situation was close to critical in many hospitals regarding the availability of beds in Covid wards or in intensive care. Last week 37 new beds were added to Covid wards, and the number of new Covid cases in the region overall dropped to 247 per 100,000 residents, although the number of infections is close to the official limit in the provinces of Prato and Pistoia as well as in towns around Empoli in the province of Florence.
The “yellow” tier with the most lenient anti-Covid regulations will be reinstated nationwide on April 26, joining the existing “orange” and “red” classifications. On the 26th every single student will return to school in “orange” and “yellow” zones in elementary, middle and high schools. On the same date, travel between regions in the “yellow” zone will be permitted, as will patio dining in restaurants at both at lunch and dinner, while exhibitions and museums can reopen with fewer visitors, cinemas and theaters with limited capacity. Ditto for outdoor swimming pools and beach clubs on May 15, gyms on June 1, hot spring and spa resorts on July 1, when trade fairs and festivals can again begin to take place. Stadiums can host 1,000 spectators beginning on May 1. The 10 pm nationwide curfew will remain in place for the near future. A decision has yet to be made regarding when university students can return to the classroom. (rosanna cirigliano)