Will Italy’s food shops and supermarkets be closed over Easter?

Will Italy's food shops and supermarkets be closed over Easter?
Shoppers at a supermarket in northern Italy. Photo: AFP
With only the most essential businesses still running in Italy under lockdown, how will the Easter holidays affect their opening hours? Here's what you need to know.

On major holidays such as Easter and Christmas, much of Italy usually grinds to halt and most shops are closed. But with lockdown measures in place, many people are concerned about whether they'll be able to get essential supplies over the upcoming Easter holidays.

Depending on which part of Italy you live in, these shops may not be open this weekend.

Photo: AFP

When announcing, and repeatedly tightening, national lockdown measures the Italian government “guaranteed” that food shops and pharmacies would remain open as usual.

The government last month also gave more powers to regional and local authorities to make their own quarantine rules, on top of those in force nationally. Some areas have restricted the opening hours of supermarkets, particularly on weekends.

READ ALSO: Why the coronavirus quarantine rules aren't always the same around Italy

Many supermarkets and pharmacies are usually closed on Sundays and holidays anyway meaning this doesn't make a big difference in most areas.

As the Easter holidays approach, local authorities around the country have declared that supermarkets must close for pasqua (Easter Sunday) and pasquetta (Easter Monday), saying the closures will prevent crowds and allow supermarket workers to rest.

After signing an order closing supermarkets over Easter in the southern city of Bari, mayor Antonio Decaro told local media it was due to “the foreseeable and uncontrolled flow of people to shops during the holidays.”

“It is not necessary to shop every day, just as it is not necessary to do so during the holidays.”

“It's sad to think of the Easter holidays without a family lunch or picnic, but this is a moment of responsibility,” he said, adding that he hoped supermarket workers  “who have not stopped for one day in recent weeks” would be “able to relax and spend time at home with loved ones.”

READ ALSO: 'We're stressed out': Supermarket workers in Italy fear exposure to coronavirus

Pharmacies would be allowed to open as usual, he said.

The Abruzzo region is reportedly preparing to order supermarkets to close for the entire Easter weekend, following pressure from unions representing supermarket workers.

And supermarkets will be closed on Easter Monday across Sicily after unions wrote to the regional governor, stating that “having to work on Easter Monday in the midst of a health emergency” would be “an unjustified sacrifice.”

Churches are to remain closed across the country over the Easter holidays.

Check the latest updates from your local and regional authorities for further information on closures in your area.

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