‘This is civil disobedience’: Restaurants in Rome defy coronavirus closures

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By Luke Hurst  with AP
Some restaurants have defied COVID-19 closures in Rome
Some restaurants have defied COVID-19 closures in Rome   -  Copyright  AP Photo

Some restaurant owners in Rome have defied coronavirus restrictions, keeping their doors open for customers at dinnertime.

One frustrated restaurateur said the move was as “a polite protest” and another“civil disobedience”, as they invited customers to dine on Friday night despite measures put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19.

In the Rome region, from Saturday, even takeaways were set to be banned, as Italy continues to battle rising case numbers, a story seen across Europe and much of the world.

Armando Minotti, owner of Loste Ria restaurant in the south of the city, said “we cannot go on this way” - recent losses were making it impossible to provide for his children and he said government financial aid wasn't enough.

“Let's call this a polite protest. If the guards come in, and they surely will, we will let them in, we will accept the fine but we are going to stay open and we won't close any more. Because it is impossible to go on like this,” he added.

Across the city, pizzas were churned out of the ovens at Fuoco & Farina where owner Max Vietri admitted to seeing the action as “civil disobedience”.

“Either all businesses close, as we did last March, then that is OK with me, but you cannot make me close and leave the other businesses open. There must be clear rules. This government is changing the rules every week, which is absurd."

Italy is one of the European countries that has been hit hardest by the pandemic, with around 2,336,279 confirmed cases and 80,848 deaths.