European cities have begun lifting lockdown restrictions for business after months of quarantine, but scenes taking place across the continent depict a “new normal” that would have seemed alien to people in pre-coronavirus Europe.

On Monday, Italy began to ease its lockdown measures, some two months after the country became the epicentre for the coronavirus in Europe. Italians were finally allowed to frequent cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars after months of quarantine.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the country had to accept the risk that coronavirus cases may spike again, or Italy would not recover economically.

“We’re facing a calculated risk in the knowledge that the contagion curve may rise again,” said Conte.

“We have to accept it otherwise we will never be able to start up again,” he added.

The scenes that unfolded on the first day were markedly different than pre-coronavirus Italy. Socially-distanced gondola rides in Venice, makeshift plexiglass pod-style restaurant seating in Milan, and masked hairdressers in Rome were all witnessed on Monday.

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