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FEATURE

What changes about life in Italy in March 2021?

From updated Covid-19 restrictions to online bureaucracy, here are the changes in Italy you should look out for in March.

What changes about life in Italy in March 2021?
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

New emergency decree

The Italian government is due to announce a revised set of coronavirus restrictions this week under a new emergency decree..

The decree is expected to be approved by March 5th and will stay in place until April 6th, health minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday, meaning it will cover the Easter period.

READ ALSO: What will change under Italy’s next emergency decree in March?

It will be the first emergency decree to be released under the new government led by prime minister Mario Draghi.

Not much is expected to change, as Speranza said last week that “measures cannot be relaxed” due to the rising contagion rate in most parts of the country.

The Italian government said last week that it intends to keep Italy’s tiered system of restrictions in place – meaning a nationwide lockdown is not on the cards. However, as numbers rise, more local lockdowns and other additional restrictions are being put in place around the country.

Faster Covid vaccinations

The Italian government has announced plans to speed up the national Covid-19 vaccination programme from this month.

The government said the aim is to have 200 thousand doses administered per day in March, for a total of 6.2 million doses this month.

Currently, around 108,000 doses are being administered daily. At this rate, Italy would not meet its stated target of vaccinating most of the adult population until December 2021, instead of September as hoped.

Spring is here – and the clocks change

The warmer weather and increased daylight we’ve all been waiting for is here as spring officially begins this month.

However, get ready to lose an hour’s sleep: the 2021 time changeover to Daylight Savings is scheduled for the early hours of Sunday, March 28th.

The clocksgo forward by one hour from 2 to 3am, which means the night will be shorter. The changeover means it will be darker in the morning, but light will last longer in the evening.

And this could be the last time this happens in Italy, and in other EU countries.

According to EU legistlation, member states that decide to stay on summer time will put their clocks forward for the final time in March 2021.

While some countries have already said they favour scrapping the hour change, including France, Italy hasn’t yet taken a definite position.

In a Europe-wide survey in 2018 some 80 percent of Europeans voted in favour of stopping the clock changes, with most people appearing to prefer to stay on summer time rather than winter time.

But EU countries still haven’t agreed on how to do this to avoid cross-border confusion between neighbouring countries, and the pandemic has put the debate on pause.

Simpler online bureaucracy?

The way you access Italian public services changes from March 1st.

From this date, all digital services are supposed to move to the government’s IO app, which is what you’ll need to use if you want to access public services from your smartphone.

You’ll also now need a SPID or electronic identity card (carta di identità elettronica – CIE) to access all online public services.

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These two electronic ID systems are set to replace varous other login credentials, all of which will remain valid until expiry – no later than September 30th, 2021.

These changes were scheduled under the ‘simplification decree’, a set of laws is aimed at streamlining some of Italy’s famously archaic bureaucratic processes and making certain services easier to access digitally.

Change to energy-efficiency labels

The energy labels for electrical appliances are changing in Ialy and elsewhere in the EU, which is getting rid of the labels A+, A++ and A+++.

Instead, they will in future only range from G, for less environmentally friendly appliances, to A for very energy-efficient models.

At the same time, the classifications will be tightened. According to the European Commission, appliances which previously had the A+++ label will likely reach class C in future. The best class, A, will remain empty for the time being, so that manufacturers have room for improvement.

Source: EU commissio

Member comments

  1. Did Prime Minister Draghi’s new decree change the date for extension for Permesso di Sorgiorno? What is the extended deadline effective March 1st, 2021?

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LIVING IN ITALY

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

From the gradual easing of Covid restrictions to the clocks jumping forward an hour, here's what to expect in Italy in March.

What changes about life in Italy in March 2022?

International travel rules change

From March 1st, Italy will allow all fully-vaccinated or recently-recovered travellers from non-EU countries to enter the country without the additional need for a negative Covid test.

Any of a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result will allow extra-EU arrivals entry into Italy without any quarantine requirement – so unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter the country with just proof of a negative test.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s travel rules change in March

Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.

All arrivals will still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

See further details of the upcoming changes to the travel restrictions here.

International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day (la Giornata internazionale dei diritti della donna or simply la Festa della Donna in Italian) and while it’s not any kind of official holiday in Italy, it’s still widely recognised in the form of small-scale celebrations or marches and demonstrations.

You can expect to see bunches of feathery yellow mimosa flowers pop up in florists’ stalls, as it’s traditional in Italy to give these to a woman on International Women’s Day. 

According to Italian Marie Claire, the flower was chosen by early 20th century activists Rita Montagnana and Teresa Mattei both because it can readily be found flowering in the countryside in March, and because despite its delicate appearance, it’s deceptively strong and resilient.

Hospital visits for relatives and food and drink returns to cinemas

Following a unanimous vote by the Italian parliament’s Social Affairs Commission, March 10th is the date on which it will once again become possible for family members to visit their relatives in hospital.

READ ALSO: TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will reportedly be able to access health facilities to visit their relatives without any further requirements, while people who haven’t received a booster shot will need a negative test to enter.

From the same date, it will also be possible to eat and drink in Italy’s cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums, Italian news media reports.

Italy’s government had banned the consumption of food and beverages in these venues last Christmas Eve in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. 

Rome marathon

On March 27th, Rome will host its annual marathon once again.

Starting and ending by the Colosseum, the 26 mile course takes runners along the Tiber and past numerous historic sites including the ancient Roman Circo Massimo chariot race track, the Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica, to name a few.

That means if you’re planning on travelling around central Rome on this date, you should prepare for most of the roads to be cordoned off and for traffic to be significantly diverted.

The race starts at 8.30am, and the maximum completion time is six and a half hours. For those who aren’t fans of running, the event also welcomes power walkers, according to its official website.

The Rome marathon starts and ends at the Colosseum. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The clocks go forward

March 27th is also the date Daylight Savings Time begins: the clocks jump forward at 2am, and everyone loses an hour of sleep.

While the EU voted in 2019 to scrap DST by 2021, a combination of Covid, Brexit, and an intra-EU stalemate (the EU Council and the EU Commission each insists the other needs to act first before anything can be done) has delayed putting a stop to the clock change, which means it will go ahead once again this March.

READ ALSO: Clocks go back in Italy despite EU deal on scrapping hour change

Italy, for one, is glad of the delays, having previously filed a formal request that the current system be kept in place.

That’s because in southern countries such as Italy or Spain daylight savings actually lengthens the days, helping people save on their energy bills – while in northern Europe the change doesn’t bring any such benefits.

Italy’s state of emergency ends

Italy’s current state of emergency or stato di emergenza, in place since January 31st, 2020, will end on March 31st, 2022, Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced at a business conference on February 23rd. 

The state of emergency is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

READ ALSO: Italy to end Covid state of emergency and cut ‘super green pass’, PM confirms

Bringing the state of emergency to an end doesn’t automatically mean that all current restrictions will be immediately dropped; however Draghi has already confirmed that after March 31st, some rules will be removed.

These include the abolition of Italy’s four-tiered colour coded system of Covid restrictions; the removal of outdoor mask mandates throughout Italy; and an end to the requirements for schoolchildren to wear high-grade FFP2 masks in the classroom or to quarantine if one of their classmates tests positive for the virus.

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