The Italian government is due on Thursday to announce and sign off on a new set of anti-coronavirus measures, to come into force by Friday.
But ahead of the full set of measures, the government on Wednesday night separately approved a decree law prohibiting non-essential travel between regions from December 21st-January 6th.
The rules will be even stricter on Christmas Day itself, with a ban on travelling between towns and comunes in place on December 25-26th, and on New Year's Day, as the government seeks to avoid a third wave of coronavirus infections being triggered by socialising over the festive period.
“On December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021, travel between different municipalities will also be prohibited, with the same exceptions.”
The restriction would apply nationwide even if, as ministers hope, all regions are downgraded to lower-risk yellow zones this month.
Travelling between towns and regions for non-essential reasons is already prohibited in Italian regions designated high-risk red and orange zones.
The goverment's statement clarified that travel “will always be possible, even from 21 December to 6 January, to return to one's residence or home.”
However, there will be limits on visiting second homes during the holidays.
“From December 21st 2020 to January 6th 2021 it will be forbidden to travel to second homes located in a region or autonomous province other than one's own. On December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021, the ban will also apply to second homes located in a municipality other than their own.”
As well as this law, Italy's prime minister is due to sign off on a new emergency decree – formally called a DPCM (Decreto del presidente del consiglio, or 'prime minister's decree') – containing rules covering the next month, including the Christmas period, by Friday, December 4th.