Milan is bouncing back from COVID-19
And wants to keep it that way
The best time to see Milan is in the summer. The roads are clear, the autostrada leading from the Swiss Border Chiasso to Milan is a sheer delight, most of the wild lorry drivers seem to be on holiday, the brutal traffic jams at the intersections are gone, parking in Milan is no longer a problem, hotels are affordable, and most important, Milan is – and feels – safe.
With summer sales starting on August 1, 2020, Milan will be a metropolis witnessing record low summer sales. Saldis (sales) are offering discounts of up to 80%, and shoppers will get the best bargains seen in decades, insiders are saying.
With the total closure of shops hitting the spring and summer sales and leaving designers in limbo, Milan is counting on an uplift of business in August.
Shop until you drop
The Four Seasons Hotel, which was a former convent and has a beautiful garden – a real luxury – is located right in the heart of the Milan’s designer district and it re-opened its doors to guests on July 1. It was on one of the first hotels to reopen in Milan. General Manager, Andrea Obertello, is delighted that after many months of closure the hotel is running at 20% occupancy, which is more than what Rome is currently experiencing.
It was quite the drama starting right in the middle of Milan’s moda and the most glamorous fashion shows on February 23 when hotel occupancy suddenly plummeted from 90% to zero in one only day. The hotel lobby was full of trunks, countless suitcases, and luggage while taxis were queueing outside on very narrow Via Jesu to bring fleeing designers, buyers, fashion guests, and fashion gurus to the airport, GM Andrea Obertello recalls. This was all taking place only 2 days after the first COVID-19 case had emerged in Province of Lodi, 60 m south of Milan.
Italy was the first European nation to be engulfed by the coronavirus. But as the prospect of another lockdown looms, the country has managed to avoid a resurgence of infections. This is thanks to good surveillance and contact tracing, as well as most of the population diligently following safety rules with many people wearing face masks outside even though it is not mandatory.
On May 4, when Italy began easing lockdown restrictions, more than 1,200 new cases were reported in a single day. Since July 1, the daily increase has been relatively static, reaching a high of 306 on July 23 and falling to 181 on July 28. Some coronavirus clusters that have emerged across the country have mostly been due to infections imported from abroad.
The situation beyond Italy’s borders was one of the reasons why Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, on Tuesday extended the country’s state of emergency until October 15 despite a significant fall in the infection rate.
What does it mean?
The 3-month extension of the state of emergency until October 15 was inevitable said Conte on Tuesday, because the virus is still circulating. The Senate has given the okay to a key measure for the executive given the many issues that the government intends to address with special powers. These include using ships to quarantine foreigners, prolonging smart working for public and private employees, reopening of schools, the purchase of protective equipment and materials to ensure reopening, organization of local elections and referendums, and new rules for the return of fans in stadiums and fans to concerts.
Also included is the blockade of flights from countries considered to be at high risk of the contagion with an obligation to quarantine – including Italians – for those arriving from states deemed at risk.
Italy has banned arrivals from 16 countries deemed high-risk, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Kuwait, and since last week has required people returning from Romania and Bulgaria to quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine rule is already in place for non-EU and non-Schengen countries.
This all could change with numbers spiking in Germany and Spain, as Italian newspapers are reporting, assuming this could mean that both EU countries could be the next “focolaio” (hotspot).
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