Coronavirus: Italy, France, Greece reopen beaches

 Coronavirus: Italy, France, Greece reopen beaches

Life is beginning to return to normal in Europe after about two months of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The authorities in Greece, France and Italy on Friday opened beaches for the first weekend since the easing of coronavirus lockdowns.

It is a signal that the tourism industry may be on its way back to life.

Italy which as at yesterday recorded 223885 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 31,610 deaths, second only to the UK in terms of death, will reopen its airports and borders for travels from  June 3 as it continues to ease its coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

It had imposed strict lockdown measures in early March, when it seemed it was getting overwhelmed by the pandemic.

At some point it had the highest rate of infections and deaths in Europe.

A decree signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte yesterday allows people to move freely across the country’s regions on the same day.

Italy began lifting restrictions on May 4, when it allowed factories and parks to reopen after the number of cases of infections and deaths began to fall.

A further easing of the lockdown is due to take place tomorrow with hairdressers, coffee bars and restaurants allowed to reopen – but only if social distancing measures can be guaranteed.

Scores of people flocked to the beaches in Greece, Italy and France yesterday to savour their ‘new freedom’ after  spending weeks indoors.

More than 500 beaches reopened across Greece alone.

Workers toiled in the midday heat, setting up canopies and seating areas for outside beach bars.

Sun-seekers were required to respect social distancing rules, which even stipulated how far umbrellas must be kept apart.

Guidelines stated no more than 40 people were allowed per 1,000 square metres (10,750 sq ft), while umbrella poles had to be four metres (13 ft) apart, with canopies no closer than one metre, according to a government-issued manual, complete with diagram.

Some of the most famous surf spots on the south coast of France were also back in business yesterday.

Austria took an important symbolic step Friday by reopening its restaurants and traditional Viennese cafes.

‘We missed it and we’re going to come back as much as possible,’ said Fanny and Sophie, 19-year-old students waiting for breakfast at a cafe in the Austrian capital.

Ayomide Oyewole

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