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Coronavirus

Italian Police Block Protesting Business Owners

ROME — Police in Rome blocked hundreds of angry owners of shuttered establishments, such as restaurants and gyms, from reaching a square outside the Italian Parliament as frustration builds in business sectors over weeks of current pandemic lockdown measures.

The protesters took to the streets on Monday to demand that the government lift a decree that bans restaurants, cafes and bars from offering table or counter service through April. The owners say government promises of compensation for some of their lost revenues aren’t enough to feed their families and keep paying idle workers on payrolls.

Operators of gyms, cinemas, museums, theaters and concert halls are complaining they have not been given a firm date when they can open their doors to the public.

Premier Mario Draghi says unless the COVID-19 situation quickly improves and vaccination pace picks up, restrictions on dining at eateries will remain at least through this month.

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