Q&A: Your key questions about Italy’s coronavirus rules answered

Q&A: Your key questions about Italy's coronavirus rules answered
Photo: AFP
After bringing in its fourth set of coronavirus restrictions in less than a month on Friday, the Italian government has clarified some of the details of the latest measures.

Under Italy's latest emergency decree, the goverment has tightened the coronavirus rules for the fourth time in three weeks in response to the country's worsening coronavirus situation.

READ ALSO: Italy's new coronavirus rules at a glance

The new decree, in force until at least December 3rd, includes a 10pm curfew and the closure of museums nationwide.

The government also announced a new national three-tier system splitting the country into red, orange, and yellow zones, meaning many rules now differ depending on where you are in Italy.
 
As there have been a lot of questions about exactly what is and isn't allowed in various parts of Italy, the government has released further informaton over the weekend clarifying some of the points in the decree.
 
 
Here are the answers to some of our readers' most pressing questions, according to information on the government's website.
 
Can I visit my second home in Italy?
 
This depends on exactly where your second home is, and where you’re travelling from.
 
If your second home is in a yellow zone, you can travel there from elsewhere in Italy.
 
If it’s in a red or orange zone, the government’s FAQ states, “it is allowed only if due to the need to remedy unexpected situations (such as collapses, breakage of plumbing systems and the like, break-ins, etc.)
 
If you’re travelling to your second home from outside Italy, you’ll need to be aware of the current travel restrictions in place (which are subject to change – see here for the current rules). 
 
What if I need to go out during curfew hours?
 
 
The public is urged to stay indoors between these hours, except for essential reasons like work or health emergencies.
 
Whether you're a resident or just passing through, you should prepare to fill out an autodichiarazione, 'self-certification form', if you have to go out during curfew hours. Find the form (and a guide to completing it in Italian) here.
 
 
Similar to the forms everyone in Italy had to carry during the nationwide lockdown, these slips state who you are, where you're going and why, and that you're aware of the rules in place as well as the penalties for breaking them.
 
Do the same travel restrictions apply to foreign citizens as to Italians? 
 
Yes. The government's FAQ states that “the restrictions are valid for all people present on Italian territory, regardless of their nationality.”
 
I need to leave Italy. Can I travel back to my home country?
 
Yes. Returning home is a valid reason for travel, whether you're returning to another part of Italy or to another country.
 
Whether you've been staying at your second home, or your visa is about to expire, if you need to leave the country this counts as an essential reason for travelling.
 
If you're driving, motorways and service stations are open as usual and there is no restriction on passing through a red zone such as Lombardy (as long as you're not stopping).
 
You will need to fill out a self-certification form explaining your reason for travel in case you encounter a police checkpoint. It's the same form you need when going outside under curfew. It's only available in Italian, but here's where to get it and how to fill it out.
 
For more travel information consult your embassy or see the Italian government's Viaggiare Sicuri website.
 
I’m planning to move house soon. Is this still allowed?
 
Yes, as during Italy's previous spring lockdown this would count as a necessity.
 
The transport, delivery and assembly of furniture also counts as a proven work requirement that justifies travel, the government's FAQ states.
 
You can get new furniture delivered and assembled if “the furniture sale took place in the store before the restrictions, and had not yet concluded with delivery and assembly.”
 
Is public transport still running?
 
Yes, however the latest rules mean capacity has been cut from 80 to 50 percent (with the exception of school transport).
 
Timetables may have changed and some services reduced as more people are now working from home, so be sure to check your route before you leave.
 
Can I go for a walk, jog or bike ride?
 
Yes – in yellow and orange zones. Outdoor exercise is allowed, as long as you go alone, keep a distance of at least one metre from others, and it is between the hours of 5am and 10pm.
 
In red zones, the government clarifies that you can go for a walk, jog or bike ride but must stay near your home (no distance is specified): 
 
“Walks are allowed, as a motor activity, only in the vicinity of one's home.” the government's FAQ states.
 
 
Walking or riding a bike is “also clearly allowed if necessary to make the other permitted trips (to work, health reasons or necessity).”
 
“For example, it is justified by reasons of necessity to go shopping, to buy newspapers, to go to the pharmacy, or in any case to buy goods necessary for daily life.”
 
However, as during the spring lockdown, local authorities are likely to interpret the rules differently and readers have already reported especially strict police officers telling them to go home when they were out for a solitary stroll.
 
Can I take my dog out?
 
As during Italy's strict spring lockdown, walking your dog is allowed even in red zones “but aaway from crowds and keeping a distance of at least one meter from other people,” the government's FAQ warns.
 
You can also take animals to the vet if necessary, although routine checkups must be postponed in red zones.

Can I travel outside of my comune to go shopping?

While everyone in Italy is asked to stay within their comune or municipality where possible, you can travel beyond its limits to go shopping if you need something that is not available in your local area – for example, if you live in a rural area which does not have a big supermarket.

However this is only applicable to things you need – any carabinieri who may stop you are unlikely to accept, for example,.shopping around in search of a bargain as a valid reason for travel.

“It is possible to travel to other municipalities only and exclusively for proven work needs, necessities or for health reasons,” the government’s website states.

“Therefore, where the municipality does not have sales outlets, or it is necessary to urgently purchase basic necessities not available in the municipality of residence or domicile, travel is allowed only within these narrow limits, which must be self-certified.”

Can I help my neighbour with their olive harvest this year?

It's very common for people in Italy to help their friends, neighbours or family members with the olive harvest at this time of year. Plus, it's a great reason to get some fresh air.

So little wonder we received a few emails from readers asking if it would still be allowed this year.

The short answer is that it depends on which zone you're in and how far you'd have to travel.

If both you and the olive grove are in a yellow zone, you won't face any restrictions. However. you can't travel from a yellow zone to an orange or red zone.

While there's no official guidance from the government on this yet, here's what we know so far.

Note: Some rules may vary under local restrictions in Italy. It is recommended that you also check the rules set by your town and region. Find out how to do that in a separate article here.
 
For further details on the current coronavirus situation in Italy, please see the Health Ministry's website (in English).

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