Everything that changes in Italy from May 18th

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
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.

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.

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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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