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Italy to shut down cinemas, gyms and pools

Italy to shut down cinemas, gyms and pools
© Anna Moneymaker

All cinemas, gyms and pools in Italy will be shut down for a month and bars and restaurants will be required to close at 6 p.m., six hours earlier than what had previously been allowed, according to the Associated Press.

The new order comes just a week after the nation imposed a series of other measures including allowing mayors to enforce 9 p.m. curfews at public squares, penalties for gyms and pools that fail to follow restrictions and the banning of local festivals.

“Our aim is to protect health and the economy,” Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said.

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Like many European governments, Italy is hoping to avoid having to order another lockdown, the AP reported. A 10-week lockdown earlier in the year cost the economy 47 billion euros a month.

The new rules will also limit ski slopes and soccer stadiums to only professional athletes. Receptions after religious ceremonies will also be banned.

This move goes in the face of widespread outcry from bar and restaurant owners. The AP noted many restaurants in Italy don’t begin serving dinner until at least 8 p.m. making this measure highly disruptive to their business practices. Conte has promised financial aid to these businesses and observed that cafes and restaurants would still be able to offer delivery.

Demonstrations have also begun against the government’s curfews and mandates, with protests occurring in Naples and Rome. Some of these protests were carried out by far-right and neo-fascist groups.

Conte sympathized with protests saying, “I’d feel anger, too, toward the government.”

Several European countries are introducing targeted measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus cases begin to surge again and officials expect a difficult winter. Spain announced on Sunday that new overnight curfews would begin and are expected to last for the next six months.