To deal with a huge spike in coronavirus cases in the country, which includes levels of new daily cases that are triple that of where they were in the previous spike in March, Italy has reinstituted a month of restrictions on activities. The period will run until November 24 and includes closing of indoor gyms and indoor pools.
While the new measures won’t be quite as strict as Italy saw early in the pandemic, when the country was one of the first major hotspots outside of China, they will roll back many of the non-essential activities that had been granted.
Outdoor sports and physical activities will be allowed to continue. Training and competitions “of a national interest” are allowed, but must take place in facilities behind closed doors and respecting the protocols issued by the Federations. including social distancing.
Two-time defending World Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and World Record holder Federica Pellegrini said last week that if the restrictions closed pools again, she would consider retirement; however, that seemed to imply that if she lost access to a pool, which under the new restrictions, she doesn’t.
Pellegrini tested positive for coronavirus last week before leaving for the ISL camp in Budapest. She was showing symptoms at the time.
All public shops, including bars and restaurants, must be closed at 6PM. All trade fair events and congresses are suspended, as are activities of cinemas, theatres, and all indoor cultural events.
It is forbidden to consume food in a public place after 6PM. This restriction was designed to deal with crowding in public streets in evenings and into the night. To-go orders stop at 6PM, but restaurants can make deliveries until 9PM.
All teaching activities will be taken online, and work from home
With the coming of fall, the closure of indoor pools means that most of the Italian swimming class will be locked out of pools for a month, though it remains temperate enough for outdoor swimming, with modifications, in the southern part of the country.
Italy recorded a new record high of 19,644 coronavirus cases on Saturday. That’s roughly three-times as many as they saw on their worst day early in the pandemic, where new daily cases peaked in mid-March at 6,554. Dramatic early messaging and restrictions designed to curb the spread meant that by mid-June, the country was averaging less than 200 new cases per day. In August, numbers began to steadily rise before an explosion in October.
Experts around the world have cited quarantine fatigue, colder temperatures in the northern hemisphere bringing more indoor activities, increases in tourism, and reopening of indoor bars and restaurants as possible reasons for the new wave of coronavirus that is hitting in much of the world.
For perspective, Italy’s new infection rate of about 1 in 3,000 people getting a new coronavirus infection each day is higher than the US, which is also seeing record rates of about 1 in 4,100 citizens contracting the virus daily.
Death counts have begun to rise in Italy as well. The 151 deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Saturday is the country’s highest figure since May 21.