Italians Flock to Parks, Rush to Get Haircut Before New Lockdown

Italians rushed to parks, central shopping streets and hair salons before most of the country heads back into lockdown Monday to try to curb a surge in coronavirus cases.

Warm temperatures and sunny weather pushed people outside for picnics, a tradition for Easter Monday, which falls during the new lockdown on April 5. Many young people gathered without masks for a last aperitivo, prompting police to issue 1,338 fines on Friday.

Hair dressers and beauty salons also saw a 100% increase in bookings, la Repubblica reported, citing Confesercenti, the country’s retail trade association.

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, clients are desperate to make an appointment before the lockdown,” said Daniela Santoni, who runs a hair dresser in central Rome Trastevere. She’s among the businesses that opted to stay open on Sunday. Paola Braga, who runs a beauty salon in Arese near Milan had to extend shifts to accommodate customers.

To prevent crowds like in the recent past, police controls in central areas of big towns were put in place. In Rome, the square at the iconic Trevi fountain and parts of the central Via del Corso shopping streets were closed, while Milan’s Darsena canals area was cordoned off.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi pushed for the new lockdown because infections are running at three-month highs and the country’s vaccine program has faced a spotty rollout. Italy, the European epicenter of the initial outbreak a year ago, has suffered more than 100,000 deaths, the most in Europe after the U.K.

Draghi’s cabinet approved the new restrictions Friday, requiring schools, stores and restaurants to close in high-risk “red-zone” regions. The government has pledged to triple vaccinations to half a million a day by April 20 and inoculate 80% of the population by September, according to a plan published Saturday.

The new closures of shops and hotels will result in 15 billion euros ($18 billion) of losses, said Carlo Sangalli, president of the Confcommercio business lobby.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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