Today’s Solutions: October 19, 2021

Italy has been hit hard and early by the coronavirus pandemic, but the country is now making tiny steps towards bringing things back to normal by opening some essential stores, including bookstores.

While pretty much everything remains on lockdown in the country’s northern regions — most notably Lombardy and Piemonte which have been impacted the most — the south of Italy will soon start letting some services reopen starting with bookstores, stationery shops, and stores that sell baby clothes and supplies.

Local booksellers are interpreting the new order how they see fit: Areas in central Italy have said they’ll stay closed for another week, while some regions will only let stores open up two days each week. Of course, in order for the bookshops to remain open, they are required to maintain strict social distancing and sanitary measures.

While the selective reopenings are mostly meant to allow students to get the new supplies they need, Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini also argued they had a deeper meaning: “It’s not a symbolic gesture, but the recognition that even books are an essential good.”

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