Italy shuts discos and orders mask-wearing at night as Covid cases rise

Faced with an uptick in new contagions, being partially blamed on crowds of partygoers, Italy has ordered a three-week closure of all dance venues.

Italy shuts discos and orders mask-wearing at night as Covid cases rise
People dance on the sand at beach club in Fregene near Rome on August 14th. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
In a decree signed by Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Sunday evening, the government also said that the wearing of masks would be mandatory at night – defined as 6pm to 6am – in “all spaces open to the public”.
“Proceed with caution,” the minister tweeted.
The new measure, to take effect on Monday and last through September 7th, comes after wrangling between the government and regions over the nightlife sector, which employs nearly 50,000 people in 3,000 clubs across the country, according to the nightclub operators' union SILB.
The decision comes at the tail end of Italy's sacrosant “Ferragosto” weekend, a major holiday during which most Italians go to the beach – and many flock to beach clubs and open-air discos in the evenings.
Indoor establishments had already been barred from operating.
Over the weekend, Italian newspapers have splashed images of throngs of young holidaymakers partying in recent days, as health authorities have voiced increasing worries over the possible spread infections.
Some clubs had reportedly struggled to make customers comply with the rules – despite DJs urging people to wear their masks and to keep their distance on the dancefloor.
Some regions, like Calabria in the south, had already ordered all dance venues shut, while others such as Sardinia have kept them open.
The move came after Italian authorities reported 629 new infections on Saturday August 15th – the country's highest daily tally of new infections since May.
Italy, the first country to be hit by the coronavirus crisis in Europe, has officially recorded nearly 254,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 35,000 deaths since the country's first outbreak was detected in late February.

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Reader Question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader Question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a Letter of Recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

Anyone who tests positive in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle or recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.