Palermo, the nightlife is there but you can’t see it: so young people bypass the controls

Every evening some pubs gnaw a few more minutes of opening, every evening more and more clubs in the historic center accept to challenge the anti Covid prescriptions, every evening after 10 pm some more young people go to buy a pair of “Moretti 66” from the minimarkets Bengali to extend the evening. Every evening, since Palermo returned to the yellow zone at the beginning of February, the nightlife in the historic center grows, regenerates, expands, regains the spaces lost with the first lockdown last March. Regardless of the anti Covid bans, the precautions to avoid the third wave, the arrival of the variants.

Joint controls are struggling to contain the desire for nightlife: only on Wednesday evening there were 52 fines, all young people who did not comply with the anti Covid regulations. Three premises were fined for the same reason and two were closed for five days.

A shadow nightlife, much quieter, with no music inside or outside the clubs, but with hundreds of young people who gather without masks, hug each other, play football in the square, kiss as if the rules on distancing were no longer there, like if the bans on gathering and parking in the city center were just a bad memory. “That’s enough, there’s the vaccine, I want to go back to life,” repeated Giovanni Ferrara two evenings ago at 9.30 pm, a university graduate in his last year of law, leaning against a car in Piazzetta Resuttano, a stone’s throw from Via Paternostro. Around him five faculty mates all “armed” with beer from the supermarket and a mask worn as a neck warmer.

Palermo, stop to the “clandestine” nightlife: the mayor closes the squares and Mondello

by Giada Lo Porto


“Can you drink with a mask?” Not us », they replied to the observation that“ surgery ”put in this way only protects against laryngitis. An isolated group? Not even by idea, last night in the streets and squares of the traditional nightlife the script was repeated with the same refrain: “Now there is the vaccine, we can go out, we can go back to being together in front of a spritz”. From piazza Borsa to via Lattarini, from via Calascibetta to vicolo dei Corrieri, from piazza Croce dei Vespri to the Magione, the serum to be injected is the perfect alibi to go back to having fun in the evening. It matters little if practically none of those who bivouacked last night in vicolo dei Corrieri or in piazza Sant’Anna had done the prophylaxis, “now there’s the vaccine.”

Yellow Palermo, shadow nightlife

Even with the extension to March 5 of the mayor’s ordinance on the prohibition of parking in the historic center from 11 to 22, the first groups of young people are already formed at 5pm. Piazza Borsa is the perfect meeting place: the four clubs in via Malta and via Lattarini are still open for an hour and then continue with the takeaway until 10pm. For the managers it is enough that the people of the silent nightlife do not consume in front of the windows, otherwise if in the square there are a hundred young people without masks but with their beers in hand, the problem is who should check and don’t. “Establishing the limit between parking and walking is in many cases impossible as well as defining at what distance from the restaurant the consumption becomes take-away – underlines Simona Pennino, lawyer and resident in via Lattarini, the latest new entry among the nightlife streets – Ordinances are wrong, they create confusion and when the norm is not defined, getting around it is child’s play ». The possibility of moving within the municipality and between the municipalities of the same region attracts young people from the suburbs and neighboring municipalities to the historic center. “In Carini there are cops in the square every evening, but here there are very few controls”, explains Manfredi Lo Curto, who arrived by scooter from the municipality on the north coast of Palermo.

From Bengalis after 10pm

“We drink until midnight, when the bars close even for take-out there are always the” bangla “who sell us a beer even at 3 in the morning”, comments Federico Lo Bue with the proud grin of someone who has circumvented the rules and has won the challenge with the mayor, the prefect and the police. A challenge that the police, carabinieri, financial police and municipal police fight every evening, but if with the red and orange zones it was much easier to enforce the regulations, with the yellow zone intervening to sanction it becomes much more complicated due to the opacity of the boundaries between lawful and unlawful. “After 22 with the curfew, the control of the city becomes easier because the rule is clear – says a police officer in via Roma – First you can go out, then not if not for specific reasons”.

In the alleys without controls

The new places of aggregation, unthinkable before the pandemic, such as vicolo dei Corrieri, a narrow one and a half meters wide, dark, shelter for stray dogs and homeless people prove that the 2.0 people of the nightlife know they are on the wrong side. month has become the meeting place for hundreds of young people. The small alley that connects via Calascibetta to piazza Aragona hosts every evening the boys who have a drink in the three rooms in the square on the corner between via Calascibetta and via Alessandro Paternostro. “I see them from the window squashed like sardines, in the dark, all with bottles in hand and without protections – observes Liliana Napoli, 75, born, raised and aged in via Paternostro – I wonder if they go to see their elderly grandmothers on Sundays what risks do they make us run ».

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