Many Businesses Can Reopen on May 18 Throughout Tuscany

Sit down service at Tuscan restaurants can be offered starting May 18 to enjoy dishes including pasta made by hand and pizza from a wood-burning oven such as those pictured. prepared by the owner and chefs of Florence’s Ristorante Accademia

Shops, bars and restaurants (where table service will be allowed although buffets and self service continue to be prohibited), pizzerias, gelaterie, hairdressers, barbers, nail salons and shopping centers will be able to reopen on May 18 after a two-and-half month closure of all these services during the Coronavirus lockdown.  This freedom comes thanks to a regional ordinance that will also extend to include shopping centers and street market vendors.  Masses and religious services will also resume on that date.  Tuscan governor Rossi has announced that he will comply with business guidelines outlined by the Italian government on May 15 by issuing an official decree.

Safety protocols must continue to be observed: business owners, employees, customers and church-goers are required to keep a minimum distance of at least one meter (3.2 ft.) from one another.  The same social distance will apply to free beaches and beach clubs, where sports will be prohibited for the time being.

Hairdressers and nail salons (where plexiglass barriers are recommended) can receive customers by appointment only and people cannot wait inside.  Everyone must wear a mask; ditto for waiters in restaurants in addition to customers entering and exiting.  Restaurant owners are now obliged to keep a list of their clients who dined on the premises during the past 14 days.

Gyms, public swimming pools, health clubs and centers will become once more accessible to the public on May 25, with mandatory social distancing of at least two meters (6 ft.) currently under consideration.

Travel with no restrictions within Tuscany will also be permitted beginning on May 18.  Travel between Italian regions is slated to resume on June 3, after the June 2 national holiday “Festa della Repubblica,” as will travel in EU countries without the necessity of having to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Italy.

Tuscan governor Rossi was in favor of reopenings at different intervals and minimum two meter (6-and-a-half ft.) distancing, but has decided to adhere to recently modified federal guidelines in order not to penalize business owners.  “COVID-19 statistics in Tuscany in terms of contagion and deaths are better than many other regions,” he said.  “It is up to residents to continue to comply with mandatory safety protocols that include wearing masks outdoors and in public places in addition to wearing plastic gloves in supermarkets and when using public transportation,” he added.  (rosanna cirigliano)

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.