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Italy: A device to enforce social distancing in Florence Cathedral

Italy is slowly easing its measures, after one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns that has lasted more than two months. In Florence, the famous Duomo Cathedral and its museum prepared their reopening with an original system: A sensor aimed at enforcing social distancing.
Italy is slowly easing its measures, after one of the strictest coronavirus lockdowns that has lasted more than two months. In Florence, the famous Duomo Cathedral and its museum prepared their reopening with an original system: A sensor aimed at enforcing social distancing. © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, AFP

As Italy slowly eases restrictions after one of the strictest Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe, authorities at Florence’s Duomo Cathedral have prepared to welcome visitors with a particularly innovative device: a wearable social distancing sensor.

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Life in Italy is gradually returning to normal as the country slowly emerges from a pandemic that has killed more than 32,000 people.

Restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers and shops were allowed to reopen from Monday after more than two months of one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.

In Florence, authorities at The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) are preparing to welcome visitors with a particularly innovative device: a social distancing sensor that is worn around the neck.

“It is a device that immediately alerts you if you are too close to another visitor,” explained Timothy Verdon, director of the Cathedral’s museum.

“So it won’t be a question of evaluating the distance a bit vaguely. By wearing it, the visitor will feel the sensor with a vibration and a sound that will inform him that he’s too close to another person, less than two metres away.”

Visitors to the museum and Cathedral will be given a sensor free of charge at the start of the visit and will have to return it at the end, after which will it be disinfected. Authorities said the device was anonymous and that it does not track any data.

The Cathedral will be open to everyone, but tours will take place with a reduced number of people. The Cathedral normally welcomes around four million tourists per year.

 

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