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Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but after recording some of the lowest infection rates in 24 hours earlier this week, the country—and much of Europe—has slowly begun to ease its strict lockdown measures. Across the country, museums are again allowed to open their doors for visitors but not before implementing rigorous safety precautions.
One such measure is a device that would ensure people keep their distance from their fellow visitors and the first cultural institution to test the novelty gadget is Florence’s Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as The Duomo.
The EGOpro Active Tag, which was developed by the Florence-based company Advanced Microwave Engineering—looks like a necklace (or those audio tour devices that some museums use) and utilizes radio technology to measure the distance between two tags. So if you get a little too close to someone than the recommended safe distance of 2 meters or 6.5 feet, the device will begin to flash a red light and vibrate. If you are traveling in a group, the devices can be pre-calibrated so you can walk together without setting them off. They will be handed to everyone at the door for free and sanitized after each use.
To ensure there is plenty of space to keep social distancing rules, The Duomo is also only allowing a limited number of people inside per day or at once—a measure that most of Italy’s newly re-opened museums are also embracing.
A lot of them, such as Galleria Borghese and Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome where the blockbuster exhibition dedicated to Raphael is currently on display, are also putting a cap on how much time you can spend inside. Galleria Borghese, for example, will allow 120-minute visits for up to 80 people at a time, while a guard at Scuderie del Quirinale will take groups of six people inside the gallery in five-minute intervals. After that, the group will have 80 minutes to see the exhibition.
And if you think that you can cheat and stay a bit longer, don’t. Thanks to the social distancing devices, museum authorities are also able to track exactly how much time you have spent inside.