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Everything that changes in Italy from May 18th

From Monday, May 18th, life in Italy will look closer to normal than it has done for more than two months. Here's everything that's changing.

Everything that changes in Italy from May 18th
People out on the last weekend before Italy significantly relaxed its lockdown rules on May 18th. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Remember that each of Italy's regions and towns have the power to modify the local rules, so make sure you check the website of your regione or comune to see what applies where you are.

But here are the coronavirus lockdown restrictions that the national government has said it's ok to lift:

No more autocertificazione to go outside

Most people can throw away the form they've been using to 'self-certify' each excursion: under the new set of lockdown rules beginning May 18th, you'll no longer need to carry an autodichiarazione form justifying your reason for being outside, so long as you stay local.

Justification is now only required to travel between regions – which remains forbidden except in cases of absolute necessity, or for urgent work or health reasons.

So you'll see fewer police on the streets, and they should no longer be asking to see this particular piece of paperwork.

Travel within your own region is allowed

You're once more allowed to travel more or less freely within your own region, including for non-urgent reasons like going to the mountains or visiting another town, and whether you're driving or taking public transport.

READ ALSO: 

Local authorities may choose to declare certain areas – such as beaches – off-limits in order to avoid crowding, so check that your destination is open before setting off. And take a look at a map to be sure your route doesn't involve crossing any regional borders, which remain tightly restricted.


Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

You can see your friends again

This is a huge one, especially for those of us without family in Italy. The government has said we're allowed to meet up with friends again, rather than only the “relatives and loved ones” permitted under the last edition of the lockdown rules. 

While the government decree doesn't set any formal limits on how many friends we can see and where, it urges everyone to avoid big gatherings, observe social distancing at all times and wear masks if meeting friends indoors.

You can eat in at restaurants, cafés and bars 

Until now you could only get delivery or takeaway, but from May 18th you're once more allowed to dine – or drink – in.

READ ALSO: What are Italy's new rules on going to bars and restaurants?

There are strict rules about how far apart you'll have to sit from others (including friends, unless you live with them), you'll need to wear a face mask any time you leave your own table, and reservations will be mandatory.

Buffets are no longer allowed, which rules out many aperitivi


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

You can go shopping

Shopping no longer means only the supermarket: all retailers are now allowed to reopen.

Shoppers will have to wear a mask and possibly disposable gloves, and as we're now used to in supermarkets and pharmacies, there will be limits on how many customers can enter at a time.

While malls and outlet centres are also allowed to reopen from the 18th, some have reduced parking spaces and/or opening hours to limit crowding.

 
Hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons reopen

You can get your hair cut or your nails done, but only if you book ahead. 

You should wear a face mask unless the service requires you to take it off (if you're getting your beard trimmed, for example), and staff will keep their masks and gloves on throughout.

Museums, libraries, exhibitions and archaeological sites are back

Cultural institutions can begin reopening from May 18th. Some cities may decide to stagger it: Rome, for instance, is reopening a handful of public museums from the 19th to be followed by more on June 2nd, while the capital's libraries won't start reopening until May 26th.

READ ALSO: Italy cancels the Siena Palio for first time since World War Two

You'll have to book your entry slot in advance, and the usual rules on maintaining distance and wearing a mask apply.

Mass, weddings and funerals resume

Churches have reopened for public mass and other ceremonies, including St Peter's Basilica in Rome and the Duomo in Milan. Synagogues, temples and other religious institutions are also allowed to reopen, though mosques have chosen to stay closed until Eid ends on May 24th.

Worshippers must keep their distance from others and wear face masks, while Catholic priests are expected to take special precautions when hearing confession or giving communion.


Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

What happens next?

The next restrictions to be lifted will be on gyms and swimming pools, which are set to reopen from May 25th.

From June 3rd travel will be allowed freely between regions (subject to local authorities' say-so), while visitors from overseas will be able to enter Italy without having to submit to a two-week quarantine.

Then on June 15th, theatres and cinemas will be allowed to reopen with social distancing measures in place.

All changes are liable to be reversed, however, if the coronavirus outbreak shows signs of worsening.

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STRIKES

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travellers are once again set to face serious disruption as Italy will experience a new round of transport strikes in February. Here's what you can expect in the coming weeks.

Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

Travel to, from and across Italy was disrupted by dozens of strikes in January

And, while many travellers might have hoped for a change in the trend, strikes are set to continue into February as Italian unions have already announced a further round of demonstrations affecting rail and public transport services as well as airline travel.

Here’s an overview of February’s main strike actions, including a national public transport strike on Friday, February 17th and another nationwide walkout from airport ground staff on Tuesday, February 28th.

Public transport

February 17th: Public transport staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Friday, February 17th. 

The strike was called in late January by Italian union USB (Unione Sindacale di Base) to protest against precarious work and “wild privatisation” attempts on the part of the Italian state.

READ ALSO: Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

There currently aren’t any details as to what percentage of workers will take part in the action. As such, the amount of disruption travellers should expect on the day cannot be estimated yet. 

Air travel

February 12th: Air traffic control staff at Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi airport will take part in a 24-hour strike action on Sunday, February 12th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the walkout in question will affect air travel to and from the airport on the day.

Travellers at an Italian airport

A national strike from ground service staff may cause delays and queues at many Italian airports on Tuesday, February 28th. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

February 28th: Baggage handlers and other airport ground service staff will take part in a national 24-hour strike on Tuesday, February 28th. 

It isn’t yet clear how the strike will affect air travel during the day, though a similar demonstration caused significant delays and queues at some Italian airports in late January.

ENAV air traffic operators based in Calabria are also expected to strike on February 28th, with the walkout set to start at 1pm and end at 5pm.

Rail

February 5th-6th: Calabria-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9pm on Sunday, February 5th to 9pm the following day. 

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 9th: Staff from Lombardy’s Trenord will take part in a 22-hour strike – from 2am to 11.50pm – on Thursday, February 9th.

Empty train platform in Codogno, Lombardy

Staff from Lombardy’s regional railway operator Trenord will strike for 22 hours on Thursday, February 9th. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

It’s currently unclear whether Trenord will operate minimum services on the day. Any information regarding the strike will be released on the following website page

February 12th-13th: Trenitalia staff in Emilia-Romagna will strike from 3.30am on Sunday, February 12th to 2.30am on Monday, February 13th.

A list of guaranteed services in the region is available here.

February 19th: Veneto-based Trenitalia staff will strike from 9am to 5pm on Sunday, February 19th. 

Guaranteed services are available here.

On the same day, there will be no service between Milan’s Milano Centrale station and Paris’s Gare de Lyon due to a strike from staff at France’s national railway company SNCF.

READ ALSO: Trains and planes: Italy’s new international travel routes in 2023

February 20th: Trenitalia personnel in Lombardy are expected to strike from 9am to 5pm on Monday, February 20th. 

Guaranteed services haven’t been made available yet. 

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.

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