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Italy’s restaurant owners stage mass protest

Last night, thousands of restaurants, bars and shops in Italy staged a mass “reopening” in protest against the country’s lockdown measures, The Telegraph reports.

Around 75 thousand establishments took part in the protest dubbed “Italy Rises Again.”

Italian restaurants are currently forbidden to open, although that is set to change on June 1. However, bars and restaurants will only be permitted to operate up to 30% of capacity, with tables spaced far apart and plexiglass panels separating them.

Owners argue that they will be bringing in – at best – 30% of revenue while their costs will not be significantly lower, and predict that this will force up to half of bar and restaurant owners out of business.

Using the banner “Risorgiamo Italia”, or “Italy Rises Again”, at 9pm the businesses switched on their lights, while some restaurants set up a single table and poured drinks for non-existent customers, to raise awareness of the turmoil that the country’s hospitality sector faces.

The protest was organised by a collective called MIO (Movimento Imprese Ospitalità).

Hotels and restaurants are a central component in the Italian economy, employing 1.5 million people; a long-lasting downturn in the hospitality industry could have serious ramifications for a country that was already struggling before coronavirus hit.

Header: Restaurateur Alfredo Zini organised the protest CREDIT: GETTY

Source: The Telegraph