Italy’s cinemas will get back to business from June 15, the government announced Saturday as it outlined an overall easing of lockdown protocols in what was the initial epicenter of the European continent’s coronavirus outbreak. As with other markets that are beginning to lift restrictions on moviegoing, there will be social distancing measures in place including staggered seating and online booking.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday said, “We are facing a calculated risk with the awareness that the contagion curve could rise again.” But he also noted concern over a severely damaged economic and social structure, saying the country could not afford to wait for a vaccine. “We are taking this risk and we have to accept it, otherwise we could not restart,” the Prime Minister said. Italy has the third-highest number of coronavirus fatalities in the world with nearly 32K deaths, but recorded its lowest daily number this weekend since the outbreak started.
The European major saw its movie theaters begin shuttering in late February. The market was coming off of a robust 2019 that had been boosted by a concerted effort on the part of the Hollywood studios, alongside local orgs, to release films in the traditionally impossible-to-program summer period. MoviementVillage, a project begun and promoted by film groups ANEC and ANICA last year to make the Italian business a 12-month affair, is helping to prepare for the re-openings this summer with the addition of outdoor/drive-in cinemas. Programming will be a mix of titles from 2019 and 2020 until the studios return with fresh product.
In early March, Italy became the first European country to impose strict confinement as COVID-19 began to spread onto the continent. On Monday, it will loosen restrictions so that people may move about within their own regions. Retail stores, hairdressers, bars, restaurants and tourist sites will also re-open.
Fitness clubs, sports centers and pools will be back on May 25 while borders will be opened for visitors from the European Union as of June 3. At that time, locals will be allowed to travel throughout the country (contrary to the current situation in France where travel is limited to 100 kilometers from a person’s residence, though this is expected to be modified in June).
As for professional football matches, the situation remains in flux for top league Serie A. Teams are, however, allowed to begin training from tomorrow.