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Italian mayor bans mixed-sex shopping to stem coronavirus

Published: Updated:

Men and women have the same rights in the small municipality of Canonica d’Adda in Italy’s north - except when it comes to shopping for food.

To lower the number of people in supermarkets and reduce the risk of coronavirus contagion, the mayor has decreed that men and women will not shop together.

“Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays you can go to the bread store,” a policewoman told a woman waiting in line outside a big supermarket on Tuesday.

“Your husband can go on the other days, however.”

Those breaking the rule face a fine of up to 400 euros ($435).

A view shows the deserted Spanish Steps by the Trinita dei Monti church in central Rome on March 12, 2020. (AP)
A view shows the deserted Spanish Steps by the Trinita dei Monti church in central Rome on March 12, 2020. (AP)

Canonica d’Adda is not far from Bergamo, considered the most affected area in the region of Lombardy, where more than 9,000 people have died of coronavirus -- more than half of the total deaths in the country.

Canonica d’Adda’s mayor, Gianmaria Ceria, said coronavirus had killed about 20 people in the commune of about 4,400 inhabitants.

The separation by sex for shopping was decided “to protect public health”, he said.

“I have to guarantee public safety even if that may bring criticism.”

Hospital employees wearing a protection mask and gear tend to a patient at a temporary emergency structure set up outside the Brescia hospital in Lombardy, on March 13, 2020. (AFP)
Hospital employees wearing a protection mask and gear tend to a patient at a temporary emergency structure set up outside the Brescia hospital in Lombardy, on March 13, 2020. (AFP)

Some 60 million Italians have been under quarantine for over a month -- in Lombardy, people have been under restrictions for even longer, with some areas considered “red zones” where movements were restricted.

Cinzia Invernizzi, a retired woman of 62, said she had no problems with Canonica d’Adda’s rule.

Still, she added, “I don’t get why the men have one more day even though 80 percent of food shopping is done by women and not by men.”

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