The Italian government is easing travel restrictions to allow people to move freely inside the region where they live as of Monday, and between regions starting June 3.

The decree announced early on Saturday also permits international travel to and from Italy from June 3.

Italy imposed nationwide lockdown rules in early March after it became the first country outside Asia with a major outbreak of coronavirus, but more than 31,000 people have died.

The government has also published rules for restaurants to reopen from Monday, which includes ensuring a distance of at least 3ft between patrons, a requirement to take reservations and keep records for at least two weeks, and a recommendation to use disposable or electronic menus that can be read on personal devices. It also recommends but does not require, taking temperatures of diners as they arrive.

But the rules have already sparked protest among restaurant owners, with several demonstrating outside Milan’s main train station on Saturday.

They say the rules remain unclear and the entire sector – including suppliers and food producers – is suffering.

They protested in front of signs reading: “I won’t open today to close tomorrow,” and called for an abolition of taxes and more concrete help.

Meanwhile, officials in Venice have voiced hope the coronavirus crisis will provide an opportunity to reimagine one of the world’s most fragile cities, creating a more sustainable tourism industry and attracting more full-time residents.

For years, the Italian city has faced an almost existential crisis, as the unbridled success of its tourism industry threatened to ruin the things that have drawn visitors for centuries.

Now the coronavirus pandemic has dammed off the tide of tourists and rocked the city’s economy, leaving the famed lacquered black gondolas moored, museums sealed shut and St Mark’s Square – normally teeming in any season – traversed at any given moment by just a handful of souls.

The pandemic – following on the heels of a series of exceptional floods in November that dealt a first economic blow – ground the city to a halt and promised government assistance has been slow to arrive.

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