A couple in Milan were fined £360 for kissing in the street as removing their masks breached coronavirus restrictions, local reports have claimed.
After kissing in public on their way to a restaurant, the engaged couple found themselves surrounded by four officers, according to their own account of the incident.
The couple, comprised of a 40-year-old Italian man and a Polish woman who only knew her native language and English, had been engaged for two-and-a-half years.
Is this how to avoid a fine in Milan? A couple kiss while wearing protective face masks (stock image). A couple in Milan claim they were fined £360 by police for kissing in the street without masks despite being engaged for two-and-a-half years
Despite showing the officers evidence of this on a smartphone – such as photos, videos and messages – the couple claimed they continued to be questioned.
The problem arose when the officers found their documentation to show two separate addresses.
Once they had been identified by the police, the couple said they were fined 400 euros (£360) on October 9, as per the Italian government’s coronavirus guidelines.
According to the report in Libero, the fine was due to the couple’s failure to comply with the law that states people must wear masks within one meter of each other.
However, under this law there is no obligation for people who live with one-another to wear a mask when together in public, and within one meter.
The alleged offenders said that they were alone when they kissed, and that there was no one nearby, but despite this, they were still fined.
Pictured: Police officers wearing face masks walk through a shopping centre in Milan on October 17 (file photo). Despite showing the police evidence of their engagement on a smartphone the couple claimed they continued to be questioned by officers
This latest incident comes months after Italian police shared a video in which they used drones to hunt down a man lying alone on a beach, before issuing him with a fine.
The police officers could be seen flying a drone to survey the beach from above before finding the unaware sunbather, and then closing in on him while riding quad-bikes to cover larger areas.
Shared by the City’s public relations office, the video was intended to demonstrate how the police were enforcing the nationwide lockdown rules and covering large areas like parks and beaches using drones and all-terrain vehicles.
However, the video and photos had the unintended effect of prompting a backlash against the police’s heavy handedness.
Comments under the images said the police were going too far, and that the man was already practicing social distancing before the police surrounded him.
Italian police are seen in a video shared by Rimini’s local police force patrolling the beach in a car and on quadbikes, using drones from above to survey the area for quarantine rule-breakers
In the last week, Italy’s northern Lombardy region – home to Milan – where the European coronavirus outbreak began in late February, has taken new measures to contain rebounding infections.
Measures have been introduced limiting bar service and alcohol sales, banning contact sports and closing bingo parlours.
The regional government also called for high schools to adopt hybrid schedules, with students alternating in-person with online learning.
The measures were taken after Lombardy, Italy’s most populous region, once again become the most affected in the Covid-19 resurgence, adding more than 2,000 infections a day. Hospitals are coming under strain and intensive care units are filling up.
The new measures allow only table service for bars from 6pm, ban takeout alcohol sales from that time and prohibit all consumption of drink in public spaces, an effort to eliminate crowds from forming in piazzas with takeout drinks.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will announce on Sunday another set of measures to counter the new wave of COVID-19 cases, his office said, after the country registered a new daily record in infections on Saturday.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (pictured at the EU summit in Brussels) will announce on Sunday another set of measures to counter the new wave of COVID-19 cases
Conte’s office said the government is discussing new restrictions with local and health authorities, aiming to stem contagion while limiting the impact on individuals and businesses.
Italy was the first major European country to be hit by COVID-19 and had managed to get the outbreak under control by the summer thanks to a rigid two-month lockdown on business and people’s movement. But infections have soared in recent weeks.
The country posted 10,925 new infections on Saturday, according to the health ministry, its highest daily tally so far, up from the previous record of 10,010 cases posted on Friday.
Government ministers have ruled out a repeat of the lockdown imposed at the start of the crisis but officials have looked at a range of alternative measures to reduce social contact.
The head of the northwestern region of Liguria, Giovanni Toti, said on Facebook the government would urge schools to alternate between online and in-person lessons and tell companies to increase remote working.
The government has already toughened restrictions twice in 10 days, making wearing masks mandatory outside the home and imposing limitations on public gatherings, restaurants, sports, and some school activities.
According to Italian newspapers, the new restrictions could also target non-essential activities including gyms, pools and amateur sporting events.