Under Italy's latest emergency decree, the goverment on Thursday announced it would tighten the coronavirus rules over the Christmas and New Year period, as well as keeping many existing measures in place, as it seeks to avoid a new spike in infections over the holidays.
Questions about travel:
Can I travel back to my home in Italy over Christmas?
Yes, if the place you are returning to is where you have residency.
Travel in and out of red or orange zones is limited to essential reasons, while travelling between any regions will be restricted from December 21st.
Returning home is considered an essential reason, so if you have proof you are a resident, you should be allowed to travel.
The Italian government has confirmed that you'll be allowed to travel to return home at all times even when the strictest travel rules are in place.
Travel “will always be possible, even from 21 December to 6 January, to return to one's residence or home” under the rules, a government statement read.
Can I travel to Italy to spend the holiday with family or friends?
Can I leave the country under these travel restrictions?
Yes – there are no restrictions on leaving the country.
Though there are travel restrictions in place in regions classed as higher-risk red and orange zones, travelling out of or through these areas in order to leave the country is not prohibited. Remember to take a completed self-declaration form explaining your reasons for the trip if it requires travel through a red or orange zone.
Note that some cities or regions may have their own restrictions in addition to the national rules.
- From 10pm-5am any movement is prohibited (under the nationwide evening curfew), except for reasons of work, health or necessity,
- In yellow and orange areas, you can travel to your second home if it is located in the same municipality (as your ordinary residence).
- In yellow areas only, if the second home is in the same region, but in a different municipality, you can travel there on any date except for December 25th and 26th 2020 and January 1st 2021”
What kind of test do I need to take, and when?
The new decree, signed on December 3rd, says that travellers to Italy between December 10-20th must be able to show the airline or other travel provider a negative test result from within the past 48 hours before beginning their journey.
Either PCR or antigen swab tests are accepted, but not antibody (blood) tests.
The requirement applies to people departing from all countries in the EU or the Schengen Zone, as well as the UK. It applies to anyone who has stayed or transited through one of these countries at any point in the past 14 days.
Those who are unable to produce a negative test result will have to observe a two-week quarantine.
The testing requirement is replaced with mandatory quarantine for all arrivals on December 21st.
Hi Gianluca, yes both PCR and antigen swab tests are accepted, as far as we know. Details here: https://t.co/4HJYDow5zT
— Clare Speak (@ClareinItaly) December 6, 2020
How long is the quarantine period?
The decree text states (under article 8) that the quarantine period is 14 days.
If I have to quarantine, can I stay at a hotel or use public transportation to get from the airport to my accommodation?
You would need to check with your hotel or accommodation provider whether it would be suitable for you to quarantine on their premises.
Upon arrival in Italy, you will have to complete a form (available here or from your airline) giving your contact details and the address in Italy where you plan to quarantine.
You will need to organise your own transport from the airport without taking trains, buses, coaches or other public transport to reach your destination.
Once you're at your place of quarantine, you should not go outside unless there's an emergency, nor can you invite anyone over.
You are also required to inform the local health service, or ASL, so that they can monitor you. Depending on where you are, you should be able to do this by phone, email or by filling in a form online: consult your region's website for more information
Do the quarantine rules apply if I booked my flight to Italy before the restrictions were announced?
Yes, all those who return from abroad from December 21st-January 6th must remain in quarantine.
A government note confirmed on Sunday that this includes those who had made plans before the new provisions came in.
What are the quarantine or testing rules after January 6th?
From December 21st to January 6th, all travellers to Italy (including returning Italian residents) must quarantine for 14 days. But what happens in you arrive after that?
As far as we know, EU travellers can go back to testing negative to avoid quarantine from January 7th until at least January 15th, when the current set of rules is due to expire.
How many people can we invite over for Christmas dinner?
While some other countries have set a number on how many people you're allowed to invite to Christmas dinner, in Italy there's no fixed rule.
Previous rules urged us not to have more than six people over at a time, but in the latest decree that has been upped to a strong recommendation not to host any guests at home at all.
“In private homes, it is strongly recommended not to receive anyone you do not live with, except for work reasons or situations of necessity or urgency,” the decree states.
In his press conference introducing the new rules, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte acknowledged that “we can't go into people's homes and impose stringent limitations” – in other words, the police won't come knocking if they hear the strains of Christmas carols coming from your apartment a bit too loudly.
Instead the government is relying on people's sense of civic duty and concern for older relatives. Caution is “essential”, Conte said, “not only for us but to protect our loved ones, especially parents and grandparents”.
Can we travel to visit relatives in other regions?
Domestic travel will be limited, not only within the higher-risk zones classed as red or orange under Italy's tier system, but between any region from December 21st to January 6th, and between towns on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day.
Unless you're officially resident in the same town or region in Italy as your friends and family, then, meeting up will be complicated – though Conte did say that people who usually split their time between two places, for example couples where one partner lives elsewhere for work, would be allowed to reunite.
The government travelled that you can travel to assist a relative who is “not self sufficient”, though not “for reasons of company”. If you travel to visit a relative who needs assistance, you should go alone – the government has warned against taking the whole family.
What will be open over Christmas?
Christmas celebrations in Italy usually take place mainly in the home as most businesses including bars and restaurants are on reduced opening hours, if not closed completely.
This year, even fewer things will be open: bars and restaurants are take-away only in orange and red zones, and even in yellow zones, where they're allowed to serve customers, they have to close at 6pm.
Will the 10pm curfew be lifted?
Italy's nightly 10pm-5am curfew has been extended throughout the holidays. Usually it runs until 5am, but to discourage New Year's Eve house parties it will be extended to 7am on January 1st.
Will we be able to go to mass?
Apparently yes. Access to places of worship will take place “with organizational measures preventing gatherings of people, taking into account the size and characteristics of the place, and such as to guarantee visitors can maintain a distance of at least one meter between them”.
However the usual midnight mass is to be moved to around 8pm as Italy’s evening curfew remains in place over the holidays.
Is school restarting after the holidays?
Yes, although not all schools.
From January 7th 2021, “75% of the student population” in high schools will be allowed to go to class (the other 25% will continue with distance learning). In addition, universities will restart face-to-face lectures for first-year students and exams.