Museums open on holidays and cinemas and theaters from March 27? Here's what the government is discussing

There could be an easing of restrictions for culture in the next dpcm: here are what Minister Dario Franceschini is proposing and what the government is discussing.

Restrictive measures on culture could be loosened soon, and already the dpcm on which the Draghi government is working could have some news. Minister of Cultural Heritage Dario Franceschini was received at a hearing the day before yesterday by the Covid Technical Scientific Committee for the Emergency established at the Presidency of the Council, and during the meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half, the supplementary security protocols drawn up by the MiBACT’s General Directorates on the basis of documents provided by the trade associations of the cinema, performing arts and museum institutions were discussed in order to identify when and how to reopen cinemas, theaters and concert halls and to extend the openings of museums and art exhibitions to weekends and holidays.

A first measure could concern precisely the reopenings of museums and exhibitions. In fact, it is not ruled out that museums could reopen on holidays, in regions in the yellow zone: it is a hypothesis that the government is working on, and it could be included in the dpcm if the Technical Scientific Committee proves favorable. Indeed, it will be necessary to evaluate how the situation of the contagion will evolve, which now seems to be rising again on the push of the more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

Then there is new speculation about the reopening of cinemas and theaters, for which the minister has indicated as a possible reopening date a particularly significant day, Saturday, March 27, when World Theater Day will be celebrated. An alternative could be April 6. As for the protocols, some rules have been set: first, the non-unique maximum capacity, established on the basis of the size of individual venues, and in any case not to exceed a maximum of 500 spectators indoors and 1,500 outdoors (before the October closures the maximum limits were 200 and 1,000 respectively). There must be a distance of at least one meter between one spectator and another (this is, of course, if they are not cohabiting: no physical limit instead between cohabiting spectators). It was then proposed that a nominal ticket be introduced to better track possible contagions, to be sold in advance to avoid queues. Spectators and workers will wear face masks (mandatory FFP2 for cinema and theater workers, but perhaps also for audience members: the latter is one of the issues still being debated), there will be gel dispensers, and anti-Covid rules will be reminded before each performance (modeled after what happens on airplanes). There will also be a ban on eating and drinking to prevent audiences from taking off or pulling down their masks. The halls will have to be sanitized before and after each performance. Shows will not be allowed to be held after 10 p.m., but if a show that starts before this time exceeds the curfew time the audience and workers will be allowed to go home past the curfew time.

At the moment, it appears that the CTS has given a green light albeit with reservations following pressure from Franceschini, and the government would lean toward including the reopening, under the above conditions, for March 27: this is what seems to have emerged from a summit held last night between ministers Roberto Speranza (Health), Franceschini (Culture), Elena Bonetti (Family), Daniele Franco (Economy), Maria Stella Gelmini (Regional Affairs), Giancarlo Giorgetti (Economic Development) and Stefano Patuanelli (Agriculture). The conditional is currently a must because nothing is certain yet and the government has suspended judgment on the issue, but cautious optimism looms.

“Responding to a question of yours,” Minister Franceschini told reporters, “I said that I feel called to lead the most important economic ministry in the country. I think it is so, these years have shown it and this epidemic desert shows it, how much Italy is uglier, less attractive, sadder without open theaters, without open cinemas, without museums with tourists, without concerts in the squares. So really the commitment is to restart as soon as possible and work so that culture and beauty are the real engine.”

Pictured: security measures at the San Carlo Theater in Naples

Museums open on holidays and cinemas and theaters from March 27? Here's what the government is discussing
Museums open on holidays and cinemas and theaters from March 27? Here's what the government is discussing

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