Italy makes face masks mandatory everywhere except the home
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Italy makes face masks mandatory everywhere except the home

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Wearing a face mask while outside is now mandatory for all Italians, with violators facing a risk of up to €1,000, in strict new measures rolled out across the country from Thursday.

Under the measure, face masks are now mandatory in all urban and semi-urban settings, unless a person can guarantee that they are isolated from others. This includes shops and restaurants, if guests are not seated at a table. Children under the age of 6 are excluded from the measure.

“The state can’t ask citizens to wear masks in their own homes,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday.“But we have a strong recommendation for all citizens: Even in our families we have to be careful.”

Anyone who does not comply with the measure risks a fine between €400 and €1,000.

The new measure is part of Italy’s newly extended national state of emergency, which will remain in place until January 2021. The Vatican has adopted the mandate.

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The measure was taken to avoid another economically devastating lockdown.

In the last 24 hours, 3,678 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, surpassing April 2020’s peak of 3,000 cases. The rate had been rising for the past nine weeks.

Over the past two weeks, 46.5 cases per 100,000 citizens were reported. For Belgium, this number is currently at 233 cases per 100,000.

On Wednesday, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced that anyone travelling from Belgium to Italy will be required to be tested for Covid-19 beforehand.

Belgium recently tightened its measures by shrinking people’s social bubbles to three contacts and by reducing opening hours for bars. In Brussels, all bars were shut down from Thursday onwards, though some experts say this measure came too late.

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times