After 10 weeks in lockdown, Italy's citizens will once again be able to visit retail shops and restaurants as the country accelerates the process of reopening and recovering from the coronavirus. Italy has had the third-highest death rate from the coronavirus per capita in the world, behind only Belgium and Spain. In Italy, almost twice as many people (528) have died from coronavirus per 1 million residents as in the United States (278.1).
According to Reuters, Italy will also permit public masses to resume after Catholic bishops exerted pressure on the Italian government to allow them to resume.
Beginning today, Italians will once again be able to engage in intra-regional travel, and restaurants will be able to serve customers as long as tables are at least two meters apart. Reuters reports that reopened businesses — in particular hair salons — had long lines of customers that often stretched out the door as the country's residents celebrated their ability to re-emerge from their houses.
Italy's international tourism industry, which is vital to the country's economy, has still not reopened as the country will remain closed to international travel through June 3.
Italy was hit particularly hard and particularly early in the coronavirus pandemic. The spectacle of Italians dying in the hallways of overwhelmed hospitals without adequate treatment was one of the reasons the United States implemented lockdown restrictions in order to "flatten the curve" of infections.
Italy instituted full and harsh lockdown measures in early March in an attempt to slow the spread of the pandemic. After 10 weeks of near-total lockdown, the Italian government has begun to encourage businesses to reopen in an effort to restart the country's economy. It is unknown at this time what the final economic impact of Italy's shutdowns will be, although some forecasters are predicting that the economic impact will be far worse in neighboring countries like Spain.