Italy’s COVID-19 restrictions for the Christmas festivities will likely leave out of the picture the exact number of people allowed to take part in home dinners and gatherings to celebrate and toast to a brighter 2021.
On the other hand, citizens will be requested to stick to celebrating with family members or relatives living under the same roof – aka, the usual people one sees each day. It’s not a rule, as authorities are well aware they can’t force anything inside private homes, let alone the exact number of revelers. Nor can police control what happens in each single Italian dwelling.
It’s just a strong recommendation, an appeal, to keep out of their house grandparents, friends, distant relatives, boyfriends and girlfriends that aren’t partners already living together.
It’s a blow to the traditional, wild celebrations Italians are accustomed to.
But then again, will a simple recommendation be enough to squeeze some good sense into the minds of many people who can’t wait to party, eat, drink and spend a few carefree days around the Christmas tree, singing and dancing?
‘Good sense’ has been the magic word so far used by authorities to limit social gatherings and pandemic contagion since the end of the nationwide lockdown in May. But as soon as restrictions were lifted beaches turned from ghost spots to overcrowded hellish places.
Italy is tackling its second COVID wave and Christmas joy risks fast forwarding it straight to a third one. The death toll neared 1,000 on Thursday, the highest peak since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Is it appropriate to talk about the ‘right’ to a happy Christmas?
Authorities hope that stricter ‘framework’ restrictions will help contain gatherings yet the heated political debate and misty rules aren’t helping.
What’s certain is that from December 21 to January 6 Italians won’t be allowed to travel between regions except for work and health reasons, while on December 25, 26 and New Year’s Day they can’t even leave their municipality.
But details of the new rules are still under scrutiny mainly due to contrasts between political parties.
Holiday plans however can still be carried-out by December 20. And even though only those living in the same house are allowed to celebrate together, people (not necessarily related) can still get together for lunches in restaurants, which close at 6 pm.