Draghi govt puts final touches to new COVID restrictions

Most features of the existing system look set to be extended

(ANSA) - ROME, MAR 2 - Premier Mario Draghi's government on Tuesday was putting the final touches to a decree with a new regime of COVID-19 restrictions that is expected to be in force from next weekend until April 6, the day after Easter Monday.
    On the whole, the current system of tiered restrictions based on a region's COVID contagion risk level, going from low-risk white to moderate-risk yellow, medium-risk orange and high risk red, is set to remain.
    In red zones all restaurants and bars are closed, except for takeaways and home deliveries, and all non-essential shops are closed too.
    In orange zones, shops can do business but restaurants and bars must stay closed.
    In yellow zones, shops are open and so are bars and restaurants until 6pm.
    In white zones many of these restrictions can be dropped and, for example, restaurants can serve food in the evening.
    Sardinia is Italy's only white zone at the moment.
    At a meeting on Monday, however, ministers were split on the measures to adopt in specific areas within orange zones where there is a particularly high number of cases - 250 per 100,000 inhabitants or more - sources said.
    While the ministers agreed that it is necessary to close all schools in these areas, there was disagreement over whether to shut non-essential shops too.
    One possible change is that the new decree is expected to force hairdressers and barbers to close in red zones, according to a draft.
    Up to now these businesses have been able to operate even in high contagion risk areas.
    Furthermore, all schools in red zones are set to close.
    The package is expected to allow cinemas and theatres to reopen from March 27 in yellow zones and allow people to visit museums at the weekend. At the moment museums are only allowed to open from Monday to Friday in yellow zones.
    A nationwide ban on swimming pools, ski facilities and gyms being open is expected to remain though.
    The government is also tipped to resist pressure, including from League leader Matteo Salvini, to allow restaurants in yellow zones to serve customers at tables in the evening.
    A ban on travelling between regions, except for work or health reasons or other situations of need, looks set to stay too.


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