'Don't leave your region, unless accompanied by a small dog in a mask': Rewriting Italy's coronavirus rules

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12 Jan, 2021 Updated Tue 12 Jan 2021 14:35 CEST
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Struggling to keep up with the Italian government's ever-changing coronavirus rules? Jeff Wilson takes a tongue-in-cheek look at what feels like Italy's 88th emergency decree.


Almost a year. That is how long we have been dealing with Covid-19. I’d like to say the end is in sight, but the truth is no one really knows when we will be able to carry on in any semblance of a pre-Covid manner.

READ ALSO: 'I'm part of this crazy history': Finding inspiration in the middle of Italy's second wave

Since the beginning, Italy has been on the front lines of this battle, and I commend the government for threading the needle between safety and the economy.

I also tip my hat to everyone else who has been following the ever-changing restrictions. It is a dizzying task to keep track of exactly how far we can venture from our homes on any given day, and when and where we can shop, eat, drink, etc.

I realized just how head-spinning this can be while reading the most recent restrictions to my wife. What follows is a (fictional) overview of the rules for the new, new, new, very soon to be old, new edict.

Unlike Italy's real rules, they're not intended to be taken seriously...


January 20th-22nd: Italy will remain yellow, which means that bars and restaurants will be open until 6pm. Grocery stores and other essential businesses will be open until 9pm, but non-dairy milks will be unavailable for sale as well as most hair-care products.

Beginning precisely sometime between the hours of 12am and 6pm on January 23rd, Italy will shift from a canary yellow to traffic-light yellow. This means you cannot leave your residential region – unless accompanied by a small dog wearing a mask and rainproof sweater – but you may return if traveling by horseback or in a Fiat Punto accompanied by no one other than an old family friend whom you refer to as aunt or uncle, but is actually neither.

The northwest quadrant of Lombardy will remain traffic-light yellow until the 26th (except for several hours in the early evening of the 24th, when it will shift into a magenta zone during which Aperol Spritzes will be half price).

The southeast quadrant will remain traffic-light yellow until next year at this time, at which point an ATM ticket checker will come to every odd-numbered residence to nasally swab each head of household. Unless you can show irrefutable evidence that you have not, in the past year, ridden public transportation without paying.

Reading the newspaper on the Milan metro. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

January 27th through the 29th will be very red throughout all of Italy. So red that it may appear black to some, especially at night, when gelaterias will be the sole establishments open. For cones and take-away only. And you must sniper-crawl home before 10pm, or before your gelato melts.

From January 30th to February 3rd and February 5th to the 9th (excluding the 6th), Italy will be burnt orange. This is really no different than sunrise orange other than some minor movement restrictions. Whereas in sunrise orange you can travel freely from a smaller comune to a larger one, with burnt orange you can travel from a smaller comune to a larger one, but you cannot return to the smaller comune between the hours of midnight and 6am, or when it is raining. 


Additionally, people living in a town of less than 3,000 but no more than 5,348 may travel to a small city of no more than 500,000 – unless traveling by scooter, in which case you may go wherever you want as long as you can outrun the Carabinieri.

Jeff Wilson is an American-born teacher, writer and musician who lives in Milan.

To keep up with Italy's real coronavirus rules, find The Local's latest coverage here.



2021/01/12 14:35

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[email protected] 2021/01/14 07:18
A wonderful light hearted article... We all need a little help with a smile these days and something to brighten the mood...this did the trick for me over my morning coffee. Grazie!
[email protected] 2021/01/12 23:49
Jeff, a great piece that can help us all cope with so many changes.<br />
[email protected] 2021/01/12 19:47
This article by Jeff Wilson is not a good idea. I have spoken to two people who read some of it-and assumed it was serious. They then stopped reading and left depressed.

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