30 April 2020
Wood is burning again in Naples' world-famous pizza ovens. Pizza businesses reopened this week in the birthplace of pizza, after two months of coronavirus restrictions. For now, they are only open for home delivery.
Pizzerias in Rome and other Italian cities were permitted to operate for take-out and delivery service during Italy's national lockdown. But, pizzerias in Naples closed because officials feared the virus could spread very quickly in such a crowded city.
The leader of the surrounding Campania area, Vincenzo De Luca, put extreme lockdown measures in place. He did so in part because he knew Campania's hospitals would not be able to deal with a huge increase in patients. The region has seen a less severe outbreak of COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, than some other regions in Italy.
This week, De Luca lifted bans on pizza deliveries as well as home deliveries from restaurants, ice cream stores, bars and some other food and drink businesses.
"Surely this is a little restart for the entrepreneurs, important for us and for our region, our city and our nation," said Giovanni Pezzuto, owner of a Neapolitan pizzeria. "This is a symbol of hope," he added.
It is not a total reopening, however. The pizzerias can only take orders by phone, not in person. The pizzerias have to be cleaned very often and workers must wear covers on their hands and faces.
Vincenzo Capuano, owner of Capuano pizzeria, said even the limited reopening will help Campania's economy. Everything he uses to make his pizzas comes from local providers.
"To make pizza I have to buy the local flour from Naples, (local) San Marzano tomatoes, I have to buy the potatoes, the onions," he said.
Without this business activity, "after the health crisis we could have a much worse economic crisis," he added.
Italy was the first western country to be hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. It has reported more than 26,000 deaths, the highest number in Europe.
The center of Italy's outbreak was based in the northern area of Lombardy. Officials say Campania and other areas in the south have had fewer infections because the government locked down the whole country in time.
Across Italy, bars and restaurants are planning to reopen more fully in June. Visitors will be required to observe social-distancing measures and the businesses must follow special rules for cleaning and disinfecting.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
oven - n. a piece of cooking equipment that is used for baking or roasting food
delivery - n. the act of taking something to a person or place
lockdown - n. an emergency measure or condition in which people are temporarily prevented from entering or leaving a restricted area or building during a threat of danger
entrepreneur - n. a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money
symbol - n. an action, object, event, etc., that expresses or represents a particular idea or quality