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Everything that changes in Italy in October 2020

From the upcoming review of coronavirus restrictions to the clocks going back, here's what we can expect this October in Italy.

Everything that changes in Italy in October 2020
Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Coronavirus rules up for review

One thing we’ll all be watching closely is the revision of Italy’s current set of coronavirus rules, with the government’s emergency decree (DPCM) up for review on October 7th. 
 
It’s not known yet what ministers are planning, however as the number of new cases is now rising again here in Italy it’s thought unlikely that any rules will be relaxed.
 
 
State of Emergency extension?
 
As well as the current rules being up for review, on October 15th ministers also have to decide whether to extend the country’s existing state of emergency (What’s the difference between that and the emergency decree? Here’s a full explanation.)
 
Again, the government has not given much indication of what it plans to do, but with cases rising and the situation still volatile in Italy, the provisions are widely expected to be extended.
 
Flu jabs are available earlier
 
Flu jabs are starting earlier than usual this year. Italian health authorities have confirmed that vaccines will be available from the beginning of October this year, in an attempt to lessen the impact on health services of flu season combined with the coronavirus outbreak. 
 
Free vaccines will be extended to 60-64 year olds this year, and those eligible are urged to get their jabs as early as the beginning of October – almost a month earlier than is usually recommended.
 
 
Electricity and gas prices are going up
 
Get ready for higher utility bills in Italy from this month – and not only because you may need to switch your heating on. Energy prices have gone back up and are now close to their pre-Covid levels, reportedly rising from October 1st by +15.6% for electricity and +11.4% for methane. Prices plunged during Italy’s lockdown but are now returning to normal due to increased energy consumption as businesses get back to work.
 
No more free museum Sundays
 
If you were hoping to visit your local attraction for free this weekend, you’ll need to know that entrance will no longer be free on the first Sunday of every month. Italy’s popular free museum Sundays programme has now been suspended until further notice in an attempt to keep crowds down.
 
No more free entry to the Colosseum: Italy has suspended its free museum Sundays. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
 
The way you access social security is changing
 
The INPS (Italy’s social security office) is getting rid of PIN numbers for users. From October most people will have to use a central government electronic ID to login. Find more details on the INPS website here.
 
Some extra admin for business owners
 
From October, businesses will have to officially register their 'digital domicile' (ie. a secure PEC email address). This was not compulsory before. Find out more here.

 
Clocks go back (but you get extra sleep!)
 
It's that time of year again. During the night from Saturday October 24th to Sunday October 25th, clocks in Italy will be set to winter time. At 3am the clock will go back one hour, back to Central European Time (CET).
 
The good news is that we all get an extra hour of sleep. But it will get darker earlier in the evening.
 
Sicily brings back Sunday bakery ban
 
If you're in Sicily, be aware that if you want a loaf of bread on a Sunday you'll have to bake it yourself. The regional government on the island is reintroducing a ban on bakeries opening on the first and third Sundays of every month.
 
The rule, in place until June, is reportedly intended to protect bakery workers by limiting how many Sundays they can be expected to work. Any bakeries found open on those days can be fined up to 400 euros.
 
(This article has been updated to clarify that this ban does not apply to baking at home.)
 
 

Member comments

  1. Question: you said that pricking the ginger corona virus test is good enough for italy. This would mean that antibody testing is ok. But they say “antigen” and this is different. Can you clarify!!

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LIVING IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

From the gradual easing of Covid restrictions to the clocks jumping forward an hour, here's what to expect in Italy in March.

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

International travel rules change

From March 1st, Italy will allow all fully-vaccinated or recently-recovered travellers from non-EU countries to enter the country without the additional need for a negative Covid test.

Any of a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result will allow extra-EU arrivals entry into Italy without any quarantine requirement – so unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter the country with just proof of a negative test.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s travel rules change in March

Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.

All arrivals will still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

See further details of the upcoming changes to the travel restrictions here.

International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day (la Giornata internazionale dei diritti della donna or simply la Festa della Donna in Italian) and while it’s not any kind of official holiday in Italy, it’s still widely recognised in the form of small-scale celebrations or marches and demonstrations.

You can expect to see bunches of feathery yellow mimosa flowers pop up in florists’ stalls, as it’s traditional in Italy to give these to a woman on International Women’s Day. 

According to Italian Marie Claire, the flower was chosen by early 20th century activists Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei both because it can readily be found flowering in the countryside in March, and because despite its delicate appearance, it’s deceptively strong and resilient.

Hospital visits for relatives and food and drink returns to cinemas

Following a unanimous vote by the Italian parliament’s Social Affairs Commission, March 10th is the date on which it will once again become possible for family members to visit their relatives in hospital.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will reportedly be able to access health facilities to visit their relatives without any further requirements, while people who haven’t received a booster shot will need a negative test to enter.

From the same date, it will also be possible to eat and drink in Italy’s cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums, Italian news media reports.

Italy’s government had banned the consumption of food and beverages in these venues last Christmas Eve in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. 

Rome marathon

On March 27th, Rome will host its annual marathon once again.

Starting and ending by the Colosseum, the 26 mile course takes runners along the Tiber and past numerous historic sites including the ancient Roman Circo Massimo chariot race track, the Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica, to name a few.

That means if you’re planning on travelling around central Rome on this date, you should prepare for most of the roads to be cordoned off and for traffic to be significantly diverted.

The race starts at 8.30am, and the maximum completion time is six and a half hours. For those who aren’t fans of running, the event also welcomes power walkers, according to its official website.

The Rome marathon starts and ends at the Colosseum. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The clocks go forward

March 27th is also the date Daylight Savings Time begins: the clocks jump forward at 2am, and everyone loses an hour of sleep.

While the EU voted in 2019 to scrap DST by 2021, a combination of Covid, Brexit, and an intra-EU stalemate (the EU Council and the EU Commission each insists the other needs to act first before anything can be done) has delayed putting a stop to the clock change, which means it will go ahead once again this March.

READ ALSO: Clocks go back in Italy despite EU deal on scrapping hour change

Italy, for one, is glad of the delays, having previously filed a formal request that the current system be kept in place.

That’s because in southern countries such as Italy or Spain daylight savings actually lengthens the days, helping people save on their energy bills – while in northern Europe the change doesn’t bring any such benefits.

Italy’s state of emergency ends

Italy’s current state of emergency or stato di emergenza, in place since January 31st, 2020, will end on March 31st, 2022, Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced at a business conference on February 23rd. 

The state of emergency is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

READ ALSO: Italy to end Covid state of emergency and cut ‘super green pass’, PM confirms

Bringing the state of emergency to an end doesn’t automatically mean that all current restrictions will be immediately dropped; however Draghi has already confirmed that after March 31st, some rules will be removed.

These include the abolition of Italy’s four-tiered colour coded system of Covid restrictions; the removal of outdoor mask mandates throughout Italy; and an end to the requirements for schoolchildren to wear high-grade FFP2 masks in the classroom or to quarantine if one of their classmates tests positive for the virus.

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