What will be in Italy’s August emergency decree?

With the Italian government set to announce its latest set of measures under another emergency decree, here's what we know so far.

What will be in Italy's August emergency decree?
August typically marks the start of Italy's peak holiday season - and this year, a new emergency decree. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

After the current set of rules expired on July 31st, Italy is due to launch a new emergency decree, or DPCM (Decreto del presidente del consiglio, or prime minister's decree).

The Italian government has already extended the current state of emergency until October 15th, which means it can now get on with drafting the decreto agosto, or August decree.

READ ALSO: What is Italy's 'state of emergency' and why has it been extended?

While many people hope some of the current rules may be revised – including travel restrictions – so far it looks likely that many of the existing measures will remain in place, with the government urging people to remain cautious.

The August decree is widely expected to be focused on supporting businesses as well as funding labour protection and social security measures, with Italy now facing its “worst recession since World War Two”.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (L) and Finance and Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

At a hearing at the joint budget committees of the Chamber and the Senate, Italy's Finance Minister, Roberto Gualtieri, said the money will be allocated to schools, local authorities, employees and businesses: in particular the automotive and tourism sectors.

Measures for businesses include consumer spending bonuses, social distancing incentives for hiring new employees, financial support for those returning to work, and support for employees to continue “smart working”, or working from home. The package of measures will cost an estimated €25 billion, ministers said.

The decree is also expected to lay out which safety precautions – notably mandatory face masks, social distancing on transport and limits on public gatherings – will continue.

The full contents of the new decree were expected to be announced in a speech by the prime minister in the first week of August, though Italian media now reports that it won't come into force until August 10th.

As yet nothing has been officially confirmed. But for now, here's what we know about the main policies likely to be included.

Face masks to remain compulsory

Wearing a face mask in enclosed public spaces, including shops and public transport, is expected to remain mandatory throughout Italy until at least the end of August, reports say.

Social distancing on public transport
Trains and buses don't look set to travel full anytime soon, after the government ordered rail operators to keep at least half their seats empty.
Some companies had been planning to relax social distancing requirements after the last decree expired at the end of July, but the Health Ministry insisted that passengers should continue to sit at least a metre apart and never face to face.
The government is expected to keep the requirement in place for trains, buses and metros in its new decree, despite opposition from some regional governors.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
Cruises to resume
The government wants to restart the cruise industry later in August, Health Minister Roberto Speranza told the senate. 
It's not clear when ships will be allowed to sail again, or how many people they'll be permitted to carry.
Football without fans and no nightclubs
While some were hoping Italy might allow spectators to return to stadiums again, the government's medical advisors are opposed to the idea. That means that Serie A matches will probably continue to be played without the crowds for the foreseeable future.
The experts have also advised the government to keep its limits on other public gatherings in place, according to reports, namely no more than 200 people allowed in any concert halls or other indoor venues, and maximum 1,000 outdoors.
Nightclubs are expected to remain closed, but trade fairs could be allowed to resume with safety measures in place.
Discounts for paying by card
Italy has been trying to encourage the use of cards instead of cash for a while, hoping it will make payments more traceable and help crack down on tax evasion. And since the lockdown it's also hoping to boost consumer spending, especially in restaurants and other city centre businesses emptied out by a lack of tourists and locals working from home. 
The government is rumoured to be considering killing two birds with one stone by offering incentives to people who make consumer purchases by card. The scheme could take the form of money back, either refunded directly to your bank account or in the form of a tax credit. 
At least €2 million has reportedly been allocated to the scheme.

Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
Overtime for doctors
Doctors and nurses in the national health service will be offered overtime to catch up on check-ups, screenings, surgeries and other appointments that were cancelled at the height of the pandemic. 
The new decree allocates an extra €480 million to pay for the extra hours and allows regions to up their health spending, according to a draft seen by news agency Ansa.
Employee furlough scheme to continue
One of the most-discussed policies set to be included in the new decree is the extension of the cassa integrazione (CIG), a policy preventing businesses from laying off employees by covering part of the salary – similar to the furlough schemes implemented in the UK and elsewhere.
This could continue for another 18 weeks under the new decree, according to Italian media reports.
However, under the new decree it may only be extended for companies which have recorded a year-on-year drop in turnover of more than 20 percent.
Delayed tax collections
Under measures provided in previous decrees Italian taxpayers have been able to defer tax payments due this year. This is expected to continue, and tax collections could be delayed until mid-October under the new decree. 
There are currently some six million “suspended” tax bills in Italy, according to Italian financial website
Hotels, B&Bs, campsites and beach bars are also expected to get extra time to pay the second instalment of their IMU property tax. 
Extension of unemployment benefits
Unemployment support payments for those who have lost jobs during the crisis were set to end in August, but this policy now looks likely to remain in place for another two months. This has not been confirmed, however.
600-euro payments for (some) self-employed workers
The 600-euro emergency payments introduced to help the self-employed  hit by the crisis is expected to stay in place – but only for those working in the two worst-hit sectors; tourism and unemployment, according to Labour Minister Nunzia Catalfo, Italian media reports.

Mortgage moratorium 
The government is reportedly assessing an extension to the policy of allowing homeowners to defer mortgage payments.
“Many families are still in economic difficulties due to the employment crisis and drop in turnover for businesses, so the extension – although not yet confirmed – would seem plausible,” writes
There are no reported discussions of any policy allowing  tenants to defer their rent payments, however.

Member comments

  1. We made it to Italy from the U.S. last week, and we are just finishing our first week of isolation. We booked a nonstop on Alitalia from Boston to Rome. We really had very few problems, but the fact that we own a home in Italy, plus we have Italian passports, may have “greased the wheels” for us. We did run into the situation that the declaration forms had changed a few days before our flight, so they gave us new ones to fill out. In Boston, we were told to put both of our names on the form, but the police in Rome didn’t like that. We walked back to the line entrance and filled out new forms at a table with a bunch of other people. They had stacks of forms in both Italian and English. I made sure we had proof of home ownership and photos of the water-damaged walls, which is the reason I gave for traveling, but no one ever asked questions or to see our supporting documents–just the declaration form. Now, we take our temperatures twice a day and email the numbers to the local health department. Next week, they will send someone out to give us a Covid test. We have friends who are hoping to travel to Italy next week. They are also homeowners and they have the permesso di soggiorno, so we’ll see what happens to them. Our other friends and homeowners are trying to come in September, but they have only American passports. The rules are very confusing, and it’s true, the airlines seem to be the gatekeepers. We’ve received confirmation from both a consulate and the Office of Foreign Affairs that every homeowner is allowed to “return home”, but the airlines seem to have their own rules. Our story may not be helpful to others, but I’ll let you know what happens to our friends.

  2. We flew from JFK last week to Rome, then on to Sardinia on Alitalia. We registered with the Sardegna Sicura app as residents of Sardinia and received permission by email and on the app to enter Sardinia. We had to confirm our trip within 48 hours of our return. The app includes the Covid declaration.
    To board in New York, we had our temperature taken, “new Covid forms” committing to 14 days quarantine, and presentation of our Italian /EU residency documents.(my understanding of the rules is that freedom to travel is based on Italian/EU residency, rather than citizenship and / or property ownership).Boarding passes were issued based upon our US passports.
    Entry in Rome required new “Covid 19” forms. Boarding to Sardinia was a temperature check and another check upon arrival. We had to present out US Passports and Italian residency documents in Rome to enter.
    While in quarantine, there have been no official checks. However we are in a small town and we know the police and they know us well. There is also contact tracing with the Sardegna Sicura app.
    I hope this is helpful

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For members


How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting Italy

If you're visiting Italy from outside the EU you risk running up a huge phone bill in roaming charges - but there are ways to keep your internet access while avoiding being hit by extra charges.

How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting Italy

Travelling without access to the internet is almost impossible these days. We use our phones for mapping applications, contacting the Airbnb, even scanning the QR code for the restaurant menu.

If you’re lucky enough to have a phone registered in an EU country then you don’t need to worry, thanks to the EU’s cap on charges for people travelling, but people visiting from non-EU countries – which of course now includes the UK – need to be careful with their phone use abroad.

First things first, if you are looking to avoid roaming charges, be sure to go into your settings and turn off “data roaming.” Do it right before your plane lands or your train arrives – you don’t want to risk the phone company in your home country starting the clock on ‘one day of roaming fees’ without knowing it.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Italy this summer

But these days travelling without internet access can be difficult and annoying, especially as a growing number of tourist attractions require booking in advance online, while restaurants often display their menus on a QR code.

So here are some techniques to keep the bills low.

Check your phone company’s roaming plan

Before leaving home, check to see what your phone plan offers for pre-paid roaming deals.

For Brits, if you have a phone plan with Three for example, you can ask about their “Go Roam” plan for add-on allowance. You can choose to pay monthly or as you go. Vodafone offers eight day and 15 day passes that are available for £1 a day.

For Americans, T-Mobile offers you to add an “international pass” which will charge you $5 per day. Verizon and AT&T’s roaming plans will charge you $10 per day. For AT&T, you are automatically opted into this as soon as your phone tries to access data abroad.

READ ALSO: Seven things to do in Italy in summer 2022

These all allow you to retain your normal phone number and plan.

Beware that these prices are only available if you sign up in advance, otherwise you will likely be facing a much bigger bill for using mobile data in Italy. 

Buy a pre-paid SIM card

However, if you are travelling for a longer period of time it might work out cheaper to turn off your phone data and buy a pre-paid SIM card in Italy.

In order to get a pre-paid SIM card, you will need your passport or proof of identity (drivers’ licences do not count).

READ ALSO: TRAVEL: Why now’s the best time to discover Italy’s secret lakes and mountains

Keep in mind that you will not be able to use your normal phone number with the new SIM card in, but will be able to access your internet enabled messaging services, like WhatsApp, Facebook and iMessage. Your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ (ask your carrier about whether yours is) in order to put a new SIM card in.

Here are some of the plans you can choose from:


WindTre, the result of a 2020 merger between the Italian company Wind and the UK network provider Three, currently offers a “Tourist Pass” SIM card for foreign nationals. For €24.99 (it’s sneakily marketed as €14.99, but read the small print and you’ll see you need to fork out an additional €10), you’ll have access to 20GB of data for up to 30 days.

The offer includes 100 minutes of calls within Italy plus an additional 100 minutes to 55 foreign countries listed on the WindTre website. Up to 13.7GB can be used for roaming within the EU. The card is automatically deactivated after 30 days, so there’s no need to worry about surprise charges after you return from your holiday. To get this SIM card, you can go into any WindTre store and request it.

A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.
A tourist protects herself from the sun with a paper umbrella as she walks at Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome.


Vodafone has had better deals in the past, but lately appears to have downgraded its plan for tourists, now called “Vodafone Holiday” (formerly “Dolce Vita”), to a paltry 2GB for €30. You get a total of 300 minutes of calls and 300 texts to Italian numbers or to your home country; EU roaming costs €3 per day.

Existing Vodafone customers can access the offer by paying €19 – the charge will be made to your Vodafone SIM within 72 hours of activating the deal. 

READ ALSO: MAP: The best Italian villages to visit this year

The Vodafone Holiday offer automatically renews every four weeks for €29 – in order to cancel you’ll need to call a toll-free number. The Vodafone website says that the €30 includes the first renewal, suggesting the payment will cover the first four weeks plus an additional four after that, but you’ll want to double check before buying. You’ll need to go to a store in person to get the card.


TIM is one of Italy’s longest-standing and most well-established network providers, having been founded in 1994 following a merger between several state-owned companies.

The “Tim Tourist” SIM card costs €20 for 15GB of data and 200 minutes of calls within Italy and to 58 foreign countries, and promises “no surprises” when it comes to charges.

You can use the full 15GB when roaming within the EU at no extra charge, and in the EU can use your minutes to call Italian numbers. The deal is non-renewable, so at the end of the 30 days you won’t be charged any additional fees.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which regions of Italy have the most Blue Flag beaches?

To access the offer, you can either buy it directly from a TIM store in Italy, or pre-order using an online form and pay with your bank card. Once you’ve done this, you’ll receive a PIN which you should be able to present at any TIM store on arrival in Italy (along with your ID) to collect your pre-paid card. The card won’t be activated until you pick it up.


Iliad is the newest and one of the most competitive of the four major phone companies operating in Italy, and currently has an offer of 120GBP of €9.99 a month. For this reason, some travel blogs recommend Iliad as the best choice for foreigners – but unfortunately all of their plans appear to require an Italian tax ID, which rules it out as an option for tourists.


Though buying a pre-paid SIM card is a very useful option for visitors spending a decent amount of time in Italy, as mentioned above, there’s a significant different difference between buying a one-time pre-paid SIM versus a monthly plan that auto-renews.

Make sure you know which one you’re signing up for, and that if you choose a plan that will continue charging you after your vacation has ended, you remember to cancel it.

UK contracts

If you have a UK-registered mobile phone, check your plan carefully before travelling. Before Brexit, Brits benefited from the EU cap on roaming charges, but this no longer applies.

Some phone companies have announced the return of roaming charges, while others have not, or only apply roaming charges only on certain contracts.

In short, check before you set off and don’t assume that because you have never been charged extra before, you won’t be this time.