Capri orders face mask crackdown as tourists swarm in and ignore social distancing

The mayor of Capri has declared that face masks must be worn outside in the evening, meaning anyone wanting to sip an aperitivo in the main square or stroll through the island’s tiny streets will have to do so while wearing protective gear. 

Marino Lembo ordered the restrictive policy after the world-famous destination was swarmed by Italian and foreign tourists despite travel restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Local authorities found huge get-togethers in the central streets of the island over the weekend, in breach of social distancing rules imposed by the government to avoid new virus outbreaks. 

Under the new rules, protective masks will be mandatory outdoors in the historic center of the island from 6pm to 4am at weekends.

In the southern Campania region, which includes Capri, masks are required in public spaces whenever social distancing of one metre cannot be implemented. 

“I can’t do anything different,” Mr Lembo said, explaining his decision. “We managed to have no Covid-19 cases during the most difficult days of the pandemic, and for sure we don’t want to have infected people on the island when the tourist season is reaching its peak.”

The Capri mayor is also considering the distribution of special masks reflecting the island’s brand. 

Italy has been among the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed more than 35,000 victims in the country. 

Capri’s new stricter rules also take into account its peculiar environment. The island, known for its romantic grottos and blue sea, has a reduced police staff and limited hospital facilities. 

As such, transporting possible Covid-19 patients to the mainland in stormy weather conditions could prove very difficult. 

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