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Though orders are exclusive to home delivery and subject to other restrictions, pizzerias officially reopened for business on Monday night in the Campania city, The Associated Press reports, famed as the birthplace of pizza. Social media commenters and local shop owners have described the reopening as a beacon of hope for both the community and country through the darkness of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Surely this is a little restart for the entrepreneurs, important for us and for our region, our city and our nation,” Giovanni Pezzuto, the owner of a Neapolitan pizzeria, told the outlet. “This is a symbol of hope for the little firm that slowly can restart.”
Fellow pizzaiolo Vincenzo Capuano echoed that the partial reopening of pizzerias will give a must-needed boost to Campania’s economy.
“To make pizza I have to buy the local flour from Naples, [local] San Marzano tomatoes, I have to buy the potatoes, the onions,” the owner of the Capuano pizzeria said.
Without this support to the local economy, Capuano explained, “after the health crisis we could have a much worse economic crisis.”
Naples is home to over 900 pizzerias, the most of any Italian city, Al Jazeera reports, with the coronavirus-related closures packing a serious socioeconomic punch when they first took effect. Though pizzerias in Rome and elsewhere were allowed to continue serving takeout and delivery fare, Neapolitan pizza shops were banned from doing so amid fears that the high-density city could quickly become a COVID-19 hot spot.
"It has never happened since it saw the light of day, that in Naples, pizza couldn't be found," journalist Luciano Pignataro told the news network. "Not in the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799, the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the two World Wars, during the cholera period, nor the Camorra war.”
Campania has since ultimately reported about 4,300 coronavirus cases since Gov. Vincenzo De Luca mandated the strict lockdown measures, concerned that regional hospitals could not handle a major influx of patients. About half of those infected with the novel coronavirus did not require hospitalization for the viral disease, per the Associated Press.
Though De Luca has lifted the bans on home deliveries for pizzerias, customers must abide by some restrictions. All orders must be placed by phone, and all businesses must close at 10 p.m. Pizzaiolos must wear gloves and masks at work, and the pizza shops have to be cleaned frequently.
Across Italy, bars and restaurants are currently expected to be allowed to reopen in June for in-house service, albeit with strict social-distancing and sanitation measures enforced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.