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UPDATED: What are Italy’s coronavirus quarantine rules?

Here's what you can and can't do under Italy's countrywide restrictions, which have been tightened in order to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

UPDATED: What are Italy's coronavirus quarantine rules?
Police at a road checkpoint outside Rome. Photo: AFP

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People across Italy have been told to stay indoors and avoid all non-essential travel since March 10th.

The rules have been repeatedly tightened by a series of emergency government decrees, and regional authorities are also enforcing their own rules on top of this.

READ ALSO: Why the coronavirus quarantine rules aren't always the same around Italy

The national lockdown and school closures are now in place until at least April 13th, though the government has said after this date rules will only be relaxed “gradually”.

Here's an overview of what the current rules are.

Don't leave home unless it's essential

People across Italy are told not to leave their homes unless for an essential reason, such as to go to work or buy food and medicine.

Movement is strictly limited, and on March 22 the government cracked down further, forbidding unnecessary travel between towns.

Travel is only allowed for “urgent, verifiable work situations and emergencies or health reasons”.

Photo: AFP

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 must not leave their homes for any reason, while anyone with a fever or respiratory symptoms are strongly encouraged to stay at home and limit social contact, including with their doctor.

Anyone who needs to go out is required to fill out a standardised form justifying their reasons for doing so, carrying it with them at all times.

UPDATED: The form you need to go outside in Italy under new coronavirus rules

Anyone found to have made a false claim on the form can face criminal charges.

When can you go outside?

You are allowed to go outside for one of the following reasons:

  • An urgent, demonstrable work-related reason.
  • Health reasons, for example a doctor's appointment.
  • “Situations of need”, for example to buy food.

This means that you can travel to work if your employer hasn't enforced leave or put remote working in place, and you can go to a medical appointment if it has not been cancelled by the health facility.

Most businesses are closed.

All restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hairdressers and gyms have been closed.
 
In addition, Italy's latest step in its coronavirus lockdown is to “close down all productive activity throughout the territory that is not strictly necessary, crucial, indispensable, to guarantee us essential goods and services,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Saturday night. 

The government also gave a list of the businesses that will be allowed to continue operating (available here). Any services not on the list will remain closed until at least April 13th.

READ ALSO:

All museums and cultural venues, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and casinos are also closed.

While supermarkets will remain open, large shopping centres and department stores must close on public holidays and the day before public holidays.

Some regional authorities have also limited supermarket opening hours further on weekends.

Outdoor exercise is limited

The Italian government recently clarified its rules on outdoor exercise after widespread confusion about whether going for a run or walk was still allowed.

The rules on this remain stricter in some regions than others, however it is possible to go for a short walk or take your dog out – as long as you stay near your home. Exactly how near depends on local authority rules.

Parks, beaches and other public areas in many towns have been closed after reports of “crowds” of people exercising outdoors.

No public gatherings

The government decree prohibits “all forms of gatherings in public places or sites open to the public”.

This includes ceremonies such as weddings and funerals – though burials and cremations are still going ahead behind closed doors.

Sporting events of all levels and disciplines are cancelled, stopping play in the top-flight Serie A football league.

Swimming pools, spas, sports halls, and ski resorts across the country are shut.

School's out 

Schools and universities were already closed and that closure has now been extended until April 13th at least. All exams are cancelled.

Many schools have implemented remote lessons with teachers giving classes and checking work online.

Photo: AFP

Some regions stricter than others

The rules above are the minimum restrictions ordered by the national government: many regional governments and local mayors have put in place stricter rules within their territory, and many have done so. 

In worst-hit Lombardy, for instance, as of March 23 people are no longer allowed to exercise outdoors and must limit dog walks to within 200 metres of their house.

READ ALSO: The everyday coronavirus precautions to take if you're in Italy

Check the website of your local comune or region for the latest quarantine rules that apply where you are.

Masks now compulsory in some regions

Some Italian regions, including Lombardy, have introduced rules requiring people to cover their faces while shopping or even anytime they're outside. See more information on where and when you're required to wear a face mask in Italy here.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus and face masks: How countries have shifted their advice to the public

Heavy fines and prison terms

Tens of thousands of people have been charged with breaking the quarantine rules since Italy's shutdown began. Many of them face steep fines.

The Italian government has upped the maximum fine for breaking quarantine rules from €206 to €3,000 euros. Penalties are even higher in some regions under local rules – in the Lombardy region, the maximum fine for breaking quarantine rules is 5,000 euros.

Some of the most serious offenders, such as those caught out shopping or going in to work after testing positive for the virus, may face prison sentences.

Anyone found to have made a false claim on their self-certification form can also face criminal charges.

Find all The Local's coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy here

 

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COVID-19 RULES

Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

The new Italian government has announced the end of some remaining Covid health measures. Here's a look at what will - and won't - change.

Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Few Covid-related restrictions remain in Italy today, six months after the nationwide ‘state of emergency’ ended.

The previous government had kept only a handful of precautionary measures in place – which the new government, led by Giorgia Meloni, must now decide whether or not to keep.

The cabinet is holding a meeting on Monday and will issue a decree this week detailing any changes to the health measures.

Many expect the government to scrap all measures entirely by the end of the year, after Meloni and her party criticised the way Mario Draghi’s administration handled the pandemic throughout its tenure. 

Meloni clearly stated in her first address to parliament last Tuesday that “we will not replicate the model of the previous government” when it comes to managing Covid.

READ ALSO: Five key points from Meloni’s first speech as new Italian PM

While she acknowledged that Italy could be hit by another Covid wave, or another pandemic, she did not say how her government would deal with it.

Meanwhile, new health minister Orazio Schillaci issued a statement on Friday confirming the end of several existing measures, saying he “considers it appropriate to initiate a progressive return to normality in activities and behaviour”.

Workplace ban for unvaccinated medical staff

Schillaci confirmed that the ministry will allow doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to return to work after being suspended because they refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

They will be allowed to return “in light of the worrying shortage of medical and health personnel” and “considering the trend of Covid infections”, the statement said.

Fines issued to healthcare staff aged over 50 who refused vaccination would also be cancelled, it added.

There were some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Daily Covid data reports

Schillaci also confirmed in the statement that the health ministry will no longer release daily updates on Covid-19 contagion rates, hospital cases and deaths, saying this would be replaced by a weekly update.

It said it would however make the data available at any time to relevant authorities.

Mask requirement in hospitals to stay?

The requirement to wear face masks in hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities expires on Monday, October 31st.

At a meeting on the same day the government is expected to decide whether to extend the measure.

READ ALSO: What can we expect from Italy’s new government?

While the government had looked at scrapping the requirement, it reportedly changed stance at the last minute on Monday after facing heavy criticism from health experts.

Media reports published while the meeting was in progress on Monday said government sources had indicated the measure would in fact be extended.

Confirmation is expected to come later on Monday.

Italy’s face mask rules in care homes and healthcare facilities are up for renewal. Photo by Thierry ZOCCOLAN / AFP

‘Green pass’ health certificate

There is no indication that the new government plans to bring back any requirements to show a ‘green pass’: the digital certificate proving vaccination against or recent recovery from Covid, or a negative test result.

The pass is currently only required for entry to healthcare facilities and care homes, and this is expected to remain the case.

‘Dismantling the measures’

Some of the confirmed changes were strongly criticised by Italy’s most prominent healthcare experts.

Head of the Gimbe association for evidence-based medicine, Nino Cartabellotta, said the focus on cancelling fines for unvaccinated healthcare workers was “irrelevant from a health point of view .. but unscientific and highly diseducative”.

He told news agency Ansa it was “absolutely legitimate” for a new government to discontinue the previous administration’s measures, but that this “must also be used to improve everything that the previous government was unable to do”.

The government should prioritise “more analytical collection of data on hospitalised patients, investments in ventilation systems for enclosed rooms … accelerating coverage with vaccine boosters,” he said.

However, the plan at the moment appeared to be “a mere dismantling of the measures in place,” he said, “in the illusory attempt to consign the pandemic to oblivion, ignoring the recommendations of the international public health authorities”.

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