‘White zones’ and two-guest limit: What do we know so far about Italy’s new Covid-19 rules?

'White zones' and two-guest limit: What do we know so far about Italy's new Covid-19 rules?
Socialising outdoors in Milan. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
While Italy has yet to unveil its new emergency decree, the government has confirmed some of the measures coming into force in the next few days.

**Note: This article is no longer being updated. For the latest on Italy's coronavirus restrictions, please click here.**

Italy's current emergency decree is due to expire on Friday, January 15th, and we don't yet know what will replace it.

In a late-night meeting on Wednesday, the cabinet decided to extend the state of emergency that has already been in place for almost 12 months until April 30th. 

Ministers also gave a preview of the measures they have agreed on so far, which will apply from January 16th. Most will remain in place until the next scheduled update on March 5th.

Here's what has been announced to date.

Regional travel ban for another month

The current ban on leaving your region will remain in place until February 15th, the government has announced. That means that even travelling between yellow zones, where restrictions are lighter, is forbidden except in emergencies.

You can continue to cross regional borders for work, health reasons or necessities, or to return to your place of residence.

New 'white zones'

Italy is adding an extra colour to its tier system: white, reserved for parts of the country where the coronavirus risk is lowest. These areas will be exempt from the restrictions in place in yellow, orange or red zones, including a nightly curfew and 6pm closing time for bars and restaurants.

To qualify, regions must have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three weeks straight, as well as showing other positive indicators such as a low reproduction number and effective tracing system.

None of Italy's 20 regions currently meet the criteria, going by the latest health data; the region that comes closest is Tuscany, where the rate of incidence is still around three times higher than it would need to be.

Limit on house guests

Until March 5th, the government has extended the guideline first introduced over the Christmas holidays that people should invite no more than two adults over at a time.

You're allowed to travel once per day within your own region, if you live in a yellow zone, or within your own comune if your region is orange or red, to visit someone else's home. And while you shouldn't be accompanied by more than one other independent person over the age of 15, you're allowed to bring children under 14 or other adults who need care.

Exceptions for small towns

The government has also extended an exception for people in small towns (5,000 residents or fewer), who are allowed to leave their own comune to go to any other town within a 30 kilometre radius – so long as they avoid the provincial capital.

They can continue to do so even if their region is declared a red or orange zone, where residents of larger towns must stay within their own comune.

National vaccination platform

The government plans to create a national digital platform to help deliver Italy's vaccination campaign, through which it will be possible to book a jab and later certify that you've had it.  

No further details have been announced, and the platform is not yet open to the public.

Residency permits extended

Good news if your permesso di soggiorno was due to expire by April 30th: it will be automatically extended until May 20th, giving you a few extra weeks to go to your local police headquarters to renew it. 

Elections postponed

The deadlines to hold any upcoming special parliamentary elections and municipal elections have been pushed back to May 20th.

Find all The Local's coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy here.


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