Italy unveils news coronavirus restrictions, gives mayors the power to choose further steps

Italy's PM Giuseppe Conte gave mayors the power to shut public squares from 9 p.m. to halt gatherings as he unveiled a further package of measures on Sunday, news wires reported. As daily cases in Italy hit a new record 11,705 on Sunday, Conte said the situation had become critical but his government has been determined to avoid a repeat of the lockdown imposed at the start of the crisis in March.

Only six people will be allowed to sit together in restaurants and bars, and venues with no seating will be forced to shut at 6 pm. Amateur sporting competitions are also facing restrictions, while gyms have one week to come up with tougher anti-coronavirus measures or face closure. The government will increase smart working in the public administration and is asking high schools to adopt staggered timetables to avoid congestion on public transport.

Rome made mask-wearing mandatory, even in outside spaces, on 7 October and later banned parties and ordered restaurants and bars to close at midnight.

As a part of a new €40bn stimulus package the government approved in its 2021 budget, Rome will set up a €4bn fund to compensate companies which have been worst hit by coronavirus restrictions.

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