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Italy closes nightclubs and expands the use of masks

Several people wait to undergo a PCR test in Rome.ANGELO CARCONI / EFE

Italy has decreed this Sunday the closure of discos and other open-air dance spaces, including those on the beaches, to stop the increase in infections in recent days (they have gone from 200 to more than 629 in a week). They were the only nightspots that were open: those with outdoor spaces. According to the sector associations, these establishments, which were able to open on June 15, represent between 10% and 30% of the offer. The rest have been closed since the end of February. In April, the Executive announced that they would probably reopen at the end of July, but neither the internal nor the international situation have allowed it.

Now, Italy, with a quarter of the infections in Spain, has decided to close nightlife altogether, just two days after Madrid announced a similar decision. The measure will be in effect until at least September 7. “The numbers of infections in Italy, although they are among the lowest in Europe, are on the rise. We cannot allow the sacrifices that have been made in recent months to be wasted, ”said the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza. And he added: “Our priority must be to reopen the schools in September safely.”

This Sunday, the transalpine country registered 479 new infections and four deaths in the last 24 hours. In total, Italy has 253,915 cases, of which 35,396 have died.

Opposing regions

According to local media, most regions have been against the closure and have asked Rome to introduce other less sharp alternative measures such as the limitation of hours or capacity. “We cannot use the discos as a scapegoat for the increase in infections. It is a fundamental productive sector, ”he said on public television, the Rai, Massimiliano Fedriga, governor of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The Government, on the other hand, has decided to follow the recommendations of the scientific committee that advises it, which in recent days had expressed concern about the rebound in infections.

The intention of the Executive has led to the rejection of the main nightlife organizations. The Italian Union of Dance Venues has described the decision as abuse and has indicated that the sector will face losses of up to four million euros.

The Government has also decided to impose the obligation to use masks, also in the open air, from six in the afternoon to six in the morning throughout the country, “when there is a risk of agglomerations.”

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