Luca Zaia, governor of the Veneto region of Italy and Biennale board member, declared that the Venice Film Festival will take place as originally scheduled in autumn, from the 2nd until the 12th of September. The Lido event would mark the first prominent film industry event not recently cancelled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been no official communication from the festival itself, but Italy has set out some plans for easing its travel and business restrictions in the near future—including for cinemas.

Mr Zaia is on the board of directors of the prestigious Biennale di Venezia. According to the local media, he said that there will likely be fewer films for the 77th edition due to global production freezes. The line-up and programme are usually made public in late July. Earlier on, in January, the festival announced that Kate Blanchett would be president of the main competition jury for 2020.

Today, we would have celebrated the end of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which was ultimately cancelled. However, organizers expect it to survive somehow later in the summer, probably with a presence in Venice, as well. Pierre Lescure, Cannes President, recently stated that the two festivals would ‘celebrate the relaunch of cinema in theatres’.

This past weekend, Italians were allowed to return to the beach. Starting Monday, fitness clubs, sports centres and pools will reopen, as well. Italy’s border restrictions will be lifted for European Union visitors from 3rd June, and cinemas are set to open their doors from 15th June, with specific social distancing measures in place.

Italy was Europe’s initial epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. Almost 230,000 people were infected, and almost 33,000 have died as a result.