Stir-crazy Italians will be free to stroll and visit relatives for the first time in nine weeks on Monday as Europe’s hardest-hit country eases back the world’s longest nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
Four million people — an estimated 72 per cent of the men — will return to their construction sites and factories as the economically and emotionally shattered country try to get back to work.
Restaurants that have managed to survive Italy’s most disastrous crisis in generations will reopen for takeaway service.
But bars and even ice cream parlours will remain shut. The use of public transport will be discouraged and everyone will have to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
“We are feeling a mix of joy and fear,” 40-year-old Stefano Milano said in Rome.
“There will be great happiness in being able to go running again carefree, in my son being allowed to have his little cousin over to blow out his birthday candles, to see our parents,” the father-of-three said.
“But we are also apprehensive because they are old and my father-in-law has cancer so is high risk”.