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Italy Eases Pandemic Restrictions, Serie A Training to Resume in Three Weeks

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Finally, a small light at the end of the tunnel.

FILES-ITALY-HEALTH-VIRUS-LOCKDOWN Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

As we mentioned at the outset of this pandemic, Italy were, in so many ways, the litmus test for the western world. As one of the first western nations to enter into self-imposed quarantine, Italy has seen their contagion rate decrease in recent weeks, not to mention a spike in testing, leading Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to lay out a plan for Phase Two of Italy's COVID-19 Pandemic response.

According to Conte's plan, Italy will begin easing certain restrictions on May 4th:

You have all shown strength, courage, sense of responsibility and community. Now the phase of living with the virus begins for everyone and we must be aware that during Phase Two, there is the risk we’ll see the curve climb in some areas of the country,

From May 4 and for the next two weeks, until May 18, we will confirm the social distancing guidelines, so travel should still be reduced within a region for unavoidable work or health reasons. However, we will also allow targeted family visits, but only targeted ones with social distancing and use of protective masks. There are to be no large family gatherings from May 4.

To allow a gradual reprisal of sporting events, from May 4 professionals and non-professionals (albeit recognised by the CONI) will be allowed to train. However, these training sessions must maintain social distancing guidelines.

From May 18 we can resume – with all due precautions – museums, art galleries and libraries, as well as team training in sport.

Conte went on to prescribe a tentative plan for re-opening bars, restaurants, beaches and schools, but what this essentially means for Serie A is this:

  • May 4th: Individual (and possibly small-group) training can resume, using one-meter social distancing guidelines
  • May 18th: Group training allowed
  • June 2nd: Matches can resume (place the LARGEST POSSIBLE asterisk on this one)

If the league schedules two matches per week, the season could wrap-up by mid to late July, while August will likely be reserved for UEFA competitions.

While this is great news, as fans let's proceed with caution. We're still in uncharted territory and Italy are the first ones testing the waters.

Still, even if it's likely behind closed doors, we may not be that far from watching football. Actual, live football.