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A trip to Venice has always been incomplete without a ride through its canals in the charming wooden boats known as Gondolas. After a two-month-long hiatus due to the Coronavirus lockdown, these rustic icons are back to ferrying locals and tourists around the Italian cityscape. By Manya Saini
Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries of Europe by the Coronavirus pandemic but the country, after months of lockdown, is starting to emerge from the crisis. Residents of Venice recently woke up to the familiar sight of the city’s iconic gondolas traversing its waterways.
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As the city awaits the return of tourists in June, the Gondolas are currently transporting only locals, in their historic white and blue striped shirts, with face masks and gloves to ensure the safety of the Gondoliers and passengers. They have also placed tapes along each seat to mark the distance to be maintained between each passenger to practice social distancing onboard.
The city’s sanitation workers have also undertaken the task of spraying boarding areas and seating with disinfectants every day before passengers enter the boat.
According to reports, the city councillor for the Protection of Traditions, Giovanni Giusto said that the first step for Venice to return to normal would be the gondola service resuming operations. He added that while it was good news to see their return as it highlights the aspirations of the locals to see their beloved city restored to its former glory, no one should lower their guard or compromise with safety measures.
Through the lockdown period, Row Venice, a not-for-profit had started the project, ‘Row Venice Delivers’ to help elderly and other stranded citizens by delivering them groceries and fresh produce. The move provided immeasurable relief to the people and helped them cope through a difficult time.
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Tourists from countries that are a part of the European Union will be allowed to enter Italy from June 3 onwards. The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had reportedly made a statement that the nation was undertaking a “calculated risk” by easing the lockdown due to the downturn of its economy and beginnings of a recession.
Restaurants, bars, and museums resumed service from May 18 after citizens were permitted to travel freely within their region. In a bid to revive domestic tourism, Italians will be allowed to move across the country from next month onward without any restrictions.