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Sun-starved, locked down Italians ask if summer can be saved

21:40, Friday, 17 April, 2020
Sun-starved, locked down Italians ask if summer can be saved

When Italians look for light at the end of the tunnel in the sixth week of their nationwide lockdown, a lot of them see the same thing: sunshine, endless beaches and the warm Mediterranean sea.But with summer approaching fast and no indication that the deadly coronavirus is anywhere near being eradicated, some are starting to ask whether a return to the thousands of beaches dotting the country’s 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles) of coastline is even possible.If you’ve been on an Italian beach you know: there’s a lot of social, but not much distance. Most of the prime spots have been snapped up by private “bathing establishments” where clients -- many of whom return each year and pay by the season -- are stacked in tight rows of deck chairs or chaise lounges. Neighboring bathers share the shade of umbrellas to gossip, smoke, drink coffee or play cards, as their children roll in the sand nearby.“We’ll be going to the beach this summer,” Culture and Tourism undersecretary Lorenza Bonaccorsi assured Italians in an appearance on state Rai television. How will the government assure adequate health and safety measures? “We’re working on it,” she said.Beach

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