The Italian government sent Liguria back into the orange zone on Sunday, meaning that restaurants were forced to close. They had reopened just 11 days previously.

Four restaurants in Ventimiglia defied the order, and opened for lunch on what should have been one of the busiest days of the year, Valentines Day.

Although police officers passed the establishments, no fines were issued. Restaurateurs said they had observed the usual health protocols, with widely-spaced tables and staff wearing masks.

On Monday, February 15, there were 7,351 new cases and 258 new deaths in Italy, compared to a reported 4,376 new cases and 412 new deaths in France.

FILE PHOTO: Italian food, courtesy