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HEALTH

CALENDAR: What will Italy reopen next under new lockdown rules?

When will gyms reopen, are schools restarting, and when can we go for a swim? Here are the key dates in 'phase two' of Italy's coronavirus lockdown. This article was last updated on May 25th.

CALENDAR: What will Italy reopen next under new lockdown rules?
Travelling to the nearest beach is once more permitted in Italy. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

With phase two well underway, Italy has begun its slow return to normal life after more than two months of near-total shutdown.

The latest set of rules is valid until at least June 14th, when more changes will come into force.

Here's a guide to what has already been allowed to restart and what we can expect in the coming weeks – though the government has stressed that the decision to ease restrictions could be reversed if the coronavirus epidemic shows signs of worsening again, and each region can decide to modify the rules within its territory.

From May 18th: Shops, bars, restaurants, hairdressers, libraries, churches and museums reopen; travel within regions and seeing friends allowed

For more details about everything that changed in Italy last week, see here.


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

From May 25th: Gyms and swimming pools reopen

In most of Italy sports facilities are now permitted to reopen, though the region of Lombardy has opted to keep gyms closed until May 31st, and in Basilicata they won't reopen until June 3rd. 

Sports facilities will have to follow safety guidelines, including limiting the number of people allowed to exercise at once, requiring face masks in communal areas and asking users to book training in advance.

From June 3rd: Travel between regions allowed and international travel resumes

National restrictions on travelling between different regions of Italy will be dropped from June 3rd, though some parts of the country may keep limits in place locally if dropping them is considered too risky.

Italy will also reopen to tourists from within Europe, who will no longer be subject to a two-week quarantine upon entry and will be allowed to travel freely to sightsee.

Visitors from outside the EU or the UK will continue to face restrictions, those these may be dropped later in June.

From June 15th: Cinemas and theatres reopen

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can reopen to the public from mid-June. Audiences will be capped at 250 for indoor venues and 1,000 for outdoor performances, while spectators will have to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

Cinemas will no longer be allowed to sell popcorn or drinks.

From September: Schools reopen

Schools in Italy are not expected to reopen at all this academic year but will instead resume in September, the government has already indicated.

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COVID-19 RULES

‘Not offensive’: Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani defended the policy of testing all arrivals from China for Covid-19 after Beijing said the policy "lacks scientific basis".

'Not offensive': Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

“It seems perfectly normal to me,” Tajani told Italian state broadcaster Rai on Tuesday. “Having a test is a way to protect people’s health. There is nothing offensive about it.”

“Lots of Chinese and Italians coming from China do it (anyway),” he claimed.

READ ALSO: Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Italy was the first European country to make testing on arrival a requirement for passengers arriving on flights from China last week, after a surge in the infection rate there.

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said on Wednesday that the screening requirement was “essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population”.

READ ALSO: Italy pushes for EU-wide China Covid measures as tests show no new variants

France and Spain have since introduced similar rules (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) and there is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the screening policy would be “ineffective” if not done on a European level, as only people arriving on direct flights from China were being tested in Italy, not those with stopovers.

But the Chinese government on Tuesday hit out at countries introducing a policy of mandatory testing for people arriving from China.

“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted as saying at a briefing by AFP.

“This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable”.

She said Beijing may “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”.

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