Italy began easing its quarantine guidelines this week, and people are apparently more than ready to get outside, judging by the packed St. Mark’s Square in Venice.
Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by the deadly virus, and Venice was one of the epicenters within the country. But now, the country is entering the second phase of its plan to reopen its economy, which means that people can travel outside of their region to visit relatives and can attend funerals once again.
It also means that people can get some exercise outside, but everyone is required to practice safe social distancing. Businesses, including the iconic Ferrari warehouse, are reopening their manufacturing jobs as 4.5 million Italians can head back to work.
That doesn’t mean that life is back to normal, however. Schools, movie theaters, and bars are still shuttered.
Judging by the photos, not everyone was practicing good social distancing on Monday, but most people were wearing some sort of face protection.
The move comes as Italy has seen a reduction in the number of new cases that it is experiencing each day. At the peak, there were more than 6,500 new people infected with the virus every day. The country has seen over 211,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 28,884 deaths and over 81,000 people recovered.
Yesterday, however, there were only 1,389 new cases reported. This is a significant reduction from the peak.
Venice became the focus of reporting in mid-March when the environment began seeing benefits from the quarantine measures put in place. As humans avoided driving and other traveling, Venice’s waterways became clear and clean for the first time in a long time.
Photos of the canals show clarity down to the base, as well as fish swimming through them. As NBC reported at the time, experts saw a bright side to the coronavirus pandemic. Christopher Jones, lead developer of the CoolClimate Network at the University of California, Berkeley, said that it may help cities become better prepared for the looming climate crisis.
“If we can think about how to prepare for climate change like a pandemic, maybe there will be a positive outcome to all of this,” he said. “We can help prevent crises in the future if we are prepared. I think there are some big-picture lessons here that could be very useful.”