Coronavirus: Lockdowns and closures put strain on leisure – Olympic stadium designer dies
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Coronavirus: Lockdowns and closures put strain on leisure – Olympic stadium designer dies

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The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is having a severe effect on leisure businesses around the world, as a number of countries have issued lockdowns, closed their borders and banned large gatherings.

In Italy – the hardest-hit European country with 24,747 infections and 1,809 deaths (as of 15 March) – the government has issued a nationwide lockdown, which has put a complete stop to all tourism, travel and sport.

All leisure businesses have, in essence, been put on hold, with everything from visitor attractions and restaurants to health clubs, spas and ski resorts being forced to close.

Speaking to HCM, Andrea Pambianchi, founder and CEO of Fitness Network Italia (FNI), said the country's fitness sector will be badly hit by the closures – estimating they could cost the industry as much as €45m per week.

The situation is similar in Spain, where the government has declared a 15-day national lockdown. All sporting events have been cancelled and health clubs have closed for business, as have visitor attractions and tourism businesses.

In France, the government has ordered the closure of all 'non-essential' commerce, including health clubs, restaurants and attractions – including the iconic Eiffel Tower and Louvre in Paris.

Neighbouring Germany has sealed its borders, banning entrants from France, Switzerland and Austria from Monday.

In total, more than 100 million people across Europe are on lockdown – which is predicted to have an "unprecedented effect" on business.

While Europe has been described as "the epicentre of the pandemic" by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the situation is serious in other parts of the world too.

In China – the source and origin of the outbreak – the economy has suffered a "record blow", with industrial output falling to its lowest level on record for the two months of 2020.

In Australia, all international arrivals will be ordered to self-isolate for two weeks – a move which will have a significant impact on tourism.

In the US, president Donald Trump has declared a state of national emergency and limited inbound travel, which has led to widespread closures – including the shutting down of all Disney and Universal theme parks.

On 16 March, it was also announced that COVID-19 had claimed the life of Vittorio Gregotti, the renowned Italian architect who helped design stadium for Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and created the Marassi stadium for 1990 Football World Cup.

Gregotti's other works included the futuristic Arcimboldi opera theatre in Milan, built to allow La Scala keep operating during its two-year renovation project from 2002 to 2004. Gregotti died of pneumonia on 15 March, aged 92.

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The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is having a severe effect on leisure businesses around the world, as a number of countries have issued lockdowns, closed their borders and banned large gatherings.
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