Restaurant owners in Rome pulled down their shutters on Friday evening shortly before 9 pm, when police closed down four piazzas known for their lively nightlife.

Many of the restaurants had signs with crosses on them, pronouncing their business dead due to stringent new government measures being imposed as COVID-19 infections rise again in Italy.

New cases in the country rose to more than 19,000 on Friday – more than in the first few weeks of the pandemic last spring when the government ordered a lockdown.

On Friday some 100 Italian scientists and researchers called on the president and prime minister to take stronger measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Premier Giuseppe Conte has left it up to regional governors, in this second wave of infections, to order restrictions such as overnight curfews including in places like Rome, Milan and Naples.

In Rome, the local government ordered a midnight curfew, the closure of popular piazzas at 9pm and a ban on drinking while standing.

Officials warned of fines of up to €1000 for disregarding the rules.

As of Friday over 37,000 people have died in Italy from COVID-19.

Protesters angered over new coronavirus restrictions clashed with police in the Italian city of Naples on Friday night.

Angry over a regional curfew and by the local governor’s vow to put the region under lockdown to try to tame surging COVID-19 infections, the demonstrators threw rocks and police officers responded with tear gas.

The protesters numbered several hundred, according to local media.

They headed toward the Campania region’s headquarters near the southern Italian city’s Mediterranean waterfront.

Unemployment in the south runs double or even higher than in the north.

Source: Euronews