EXPLAINED: What are the rules in Italy’s coronavirus ‘white zones’?

EXPLAINED: What are the rules in Italy’s coronavirus ‘white zones’?
(Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)
As all Italian regions move into the low-restriction 'white zone' from Monday, here's a closer look at what that means.
(This article was updated on June 27th)
 
The last of Italy’s regions, Valle d’Aosta, will move into the lowest-risk ‘white zone’ from Monday, joining the rest of the country already in this classification.
 
Italy added the extra white tier to its system of coronavirus rules back in January, which is reserved for parts of the country where the coronavirus risk is lowest.

Valle d’Aosta now meets ‘white zone’ eligibility criteria as it has registered fewer than 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three weeks consecutively.

READ ALSO: What is Italy’s Covid-19 digital ‘green pass’ used for and how do you get it?

The main difference for this region will be an end to the limit on guest numbers you can have at home (which is currently four in yellow zones, not including children).

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed the new health ordinance on Friday confirming the change, based on the weekly health data.

(Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)

What changes in ‘white’ zones?

Regions can drop most of the restrictions currently in place in yellow zones – which only included Valle d’Aosta this week.

Outdoor mask-wearing rules can also be relaxed in ‘white’ zones from Monday – though not removed completely – as the government announced earlier this week.

Most other measures have already been eased, including the midnight-5am curfew, which was abandoned nationwide on Monday June 21st.

Covid-19: When do you still need to wear a mask in Italy?

Social distancing rules remain in place in ‘white’ zones, and there’s still a ban on parties and large gatherings at home.

Regions in the ‘white zone’, which means the entire country from Monday, will be able to drop the last remaining restrictions, and reopen trade fairs, theme parks, conferences and indoor swimming pools and hold weddings under the national roadmap for reopening.

Nightclubs and discos are set to restart in early July, with opinions still divided on whether mask-wearing will be compulsory at these venues or not.

And the final set of rules in each region depends on the local authority, as each is free to impose stricter restrictions than those set by the national government.

Coronavirus: Where is the Delta variant spreading in Italy?

What are the criteria for ‘white’ zones?

To be declared a white zone, a region must have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and an Rt number below 1 for three weeks in a row.

Predictions that the whole of Italy could be in a white zone by 21st June weren’t far off the mark, with the real date coming just a week later.

The national Rt number – the reproduction rate, used to calculate how fast the virus is spreading – remains stable at 0.69, the same as last week.

The incidence rate is declining however, with an average 11 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Although the whole of Italy will be in the lowest-risk category from Monday, Speranza urged caution and told Sky TG24 news, “We are still in this challenge.”

Prime Minister Mario Draghi added, “The pandemic is not over.”

Italy’s Higher Health Institute (ISS) said in a report on Friday the Delta variant now accounted for more than 16% of new cases in the country, and warned that this variant was more contagious and had the potential to be partially resistant to vaccines.

For further details on the current coronavirus situation in Italy, please see the Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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