*NOTE: This article is now out of date. For the latest rules, please click here*
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte detailed new restrictions on Sunday October 18th, just five days after Italy’s last decree was signed
The new restrictions, including a new “rule of six” for restaurants and new powers for mayors to close busy squares, were not as strict as many had expected.
Many new or toughened rules were targeted at stopping crowds from gathering at nightlife spots, and Conte's government seemed to have resisted pressure to introduce more sweeping measures.
“The strategy is not and cannot be the same as it was in spring,” Conte said in a televised address which began shortly before 10pm.
“We must act, deploying all measures necessary to avert a new generalized lockdown,,” he continued. “The country cannot afford a new setback which would severely jeopardize the whole economy.”
The national rules remain less strict than those brought in locally by Italy's two worst-hit regions, Lombardy and Campania.
Italy has been reporting record high numbers of new cases in recent days, witha 11.705 new positive cases recorded on Sunday.
You an find the full text of the decree here (in Italian). Here are the main measures to know about:
Crowded squares can be closed
Local mayors have been handed new powers to close off streets and squares after 9pm if crowds begin to gather. (The order would not apply to residents of the areas being closed off.)
Local fairs and festivals cancelled
Local festivals and fairs or sagre, very widespread in Italy, will also be banned, affecting a sector which according to the agricultural union Coldiretti represents 34,000 jobs and 900 million euros in annual turnover.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte addressing the nation on Sunday night. Photo: AFP
“Rule of six” for restaurants
While the Italian government had previously recommended no more than six houseguests at a time, it has now ruled that no more than six guests are allowed at a restaurant table.
All restaurant owners will need to display a sign showing the restaurant's maximum capacity.
Earlier closing for bars and restaurants
Restaurants, bars, gelaterias and other food and drink businesses without table service must close at 6pm. (They were made to close at 9pm under the previous decree).
Those with table service can stay open until midnight, and takeaway service is also allowed until midnight – however, food may not be consumed at or outside the restaurant.
Businesses are not allowed to reopen again before 5am – closing a loophole in the previous decree, which had reportedly allowed businesses to close at midnight and then reopen again almost immediately.
Hours changed for high schools
The new decree requires high schools to delay the start of the school day until 9am, and allows for some lessons to be moved to the afternoon (many Italian schools are normally only open until lunchtime).
The new decree also makes provisions for online lessons (for high schools only) in “critical situations” – though the education minister has said lessons should continue in person where possible.
More working from home
Gyms to remain open – for now
Swimming pools and gyms were warned that if protocols were not followed over the next week, they may face closure.
However Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora said earlier this week that “the sector has faced huge expenses to adapt its spaces to safety protocols, and there is no scientific evidence of outbreaks in relation to individual training in places checked.”
Hairdressers and beauty salons remain open.
Amusement arcades, betting shops and bingo halls can stay open between 8am and 9pm.
These rules are in addition to the recent new requirement for masks to be worn in public places – indoors and outdoors – at all times.