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HEALTH

Covid-19: What can you do this Easter in lockdown Italy?

As the whole of Italy moves into a red zone from Saturday for three days, Italian authorities step up their police presence. Here's what you can still do legally over the Easter weekend.

Covid-19: What can you do this Easter in lockdown Italy?
Easter eggs on sale in Rome. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Just over a year since Italy was first hit by the outbreak of Covid-19, people in Italy are now facing a second Easter in lockdown.

The decision came to limit movements and gatherings during a national holiday that normally sees Italians visit friends and family or make trips to the seaside.

EXPLAINED:

In a bid to control movement during the Easter weekend, Italian authorities have placed the whole country in the harshest of Covid-19 restrictions, moving every region into a ‘red’ zone.

To bolster lockdown efforts, the Ministry of the Interior has called for increased security, including deploying an extra 70,000 police officers to patrol areas at high risk of assemblies. Those spaces include parks, urban areas, coastlines, roads, train stations, ports and airports.

Italy’s Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, defined the surveillance as “rigorous” but balanced during a meeting at the National Committee for Order and Security on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Italy to remain in partial lockdown until end of April

The current orange or red restrictions are in force until midnight on Friday, after which, the whole of Italy will be placed under red zone restrictions for the days of April 3-5th.

‘Red zone’ over Easter for all of Italy

The usual rules for a red zone include a complete ban on moving between municipalities and moving around within your own area, unless it’s for essential reasons, by either public or private transport. You cannot travel to any private home other than your own.

Exceptions are made to this rule over the Easter weekend, however. From April 3rd-5th, you can travel within your region to visit friends and relatives, once a day between 5am and 10pm.

No more than two adults, plus children under 14, should travel together at once.

READ ALSO: 12 Italian Easter foods you have to try at least once

Restaurants and bars are closed to diners, though they can continue to offer takeaway or home delivery.

All cultural sites, including museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, are shut.

In red zones, shops are closed except for those deemed essential, which include supermarkets and other food shops, tabacchi (tobacconists/newsagents), and pharmacies. Children’s clothes shops are also open.

Religious services can continue to take place, with social distancing and other precautions.

Chocolate bunnies in Switzerland
Photo: Stefan Wermuth / AFP

Hairdressers and beauticians will be closed. 

All team sports activities are suspended. Solo exercise such as running or walking is allowed.

Travel to a second home is allowed only if you can prove you had the right to enter the property (as owner or tenant) before January 14th 2021.

This means new short-term rentals are not allowed, and you can’t stay with relatives: “The house of destination must not be inhabited by people not belonging to the family unit”, according to the health ministry. 

Some regions have placed their own restrictions on visits from non-residents over Easter.

READ ALSO: ‘Don’t come’: Italian regions seek to stop second-home owners visiting

Apart from this exception for second homes, Italy has a nationwide travel ban on all non-essential journeys between regions. Whichever zone they’re in, people are only supposed to leave their own region for urgent reasons like work or medical emergencies.

Italy also has a national curfew in place every night between 10pm and 5am.

If you need to leave the house between these hours, or travel between towns or regions, or within a red zone, you should be prepared to fill in a self-declaration form justifying the reasons for your trip. 

Please note The Local is not able to advise on specific situations.  For more information on the restrictions please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

Member comments

  1. Total contradiction! No wonder people are confused: ….

    “The current orange or red restrictions are in force until midnight on Friday, after which, the whole of Italy will be placed under red zone restrictions for the days of April 3-5th.

    ‘Red zone’ over Easter for all of Italy

    The usual rules for a red zone include a complete ban on moving between municipalities and moving around within your own area, unless it’s for essential reasons, by either public or private transport. You cannot travel to any private home other than your own.

    Exceptions are made to this rule over the Easter weekend, however. From April 3rd-5th, you can travel within your region to visit friends and relatives, once a day between 5am and 10pm.

    No more than two adults, plus children under 14, should travel together at once.”

    Andrew Chmielewski

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COVID-19 RULES

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Masks will no longer be required in the workplace but Italian companies will have the right to impose restrictions for employees deemed "at risk".

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health and all major national unions collectively signed off on Thursday a new “shared protocol” (protocollo condiviso) for the implementation of anti-Covid measures in private workplaces. 

Although the full text of the bill will only be made available to the public sometime next week, portions of the document have already been released to the media, thus disclosing the government’s next steps in the fight against the virus.

The most relevant update concerns face masks, which will no longer be mandatory in private workplaces. 

However, the text specifies, FFP2 face masks remain “an important protective item aimed at safeguarding workers’ health”. As such, employers will have the right to autonomously impose the use of face coverings on categories of workers considered “at risk”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Notably, face coverings may remain mandatory for those working in “indoor settings shared by multiple employees” or even in “outdoor settings where social distancing may not be practicable”. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (soggetti fragili) may also be subject to such rules, which, it is worth reminding, are left to the employer’s discretion. 

Alongside mask-related restrictions, employers will also have the right to have their staff undergo temperature checks prior to entering the workplace. In such cases, anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5C will be denied access to the workplace and will be asked to temporarily self-isolate pending further indications from their own doctor.

In line with previous measures, companies will be required to continue supplying sanitising products free of charge and regulate access to common areas (canteens, smoking areas, etc.) so as to avoid gatherings.

Additionally, employers will be advised to keep incentivising smart working (lavoro agile), as it has proved to be “a valuable tool to curb infection, especially for at-risk individuals”.

Provided that the country’s infection curve registers no significant changes, the updated protocol will remain in place until October 31st, when it will yet again be reviewed by the relevant governmental and social parties. 

With the latest round of measures, Italy has now scrapped all Covid-related health measures, except the requirement to wear face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings, and self-isolation provisions for those testing positive. 

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Italy’s infection curve has been rising significantly since the beginning of June. From June 1st to June 14th, Covid’s R (spreading rate) rate rose back over 1 for the first time since April 8th. Also, from June 17th to June 23rd, the virus’s incidence rate was 504 cases every 100,000 residents, up by 62 per cent on the previous week.

According to Claudio Mastroianni, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sapienza University of Rome, “with 25 per cent of daily Covid swabs coming back positive and a R rate over 1, the infection curve will likely rise at least until mid-July”.

However, albeit acknowledging the rising number of positive cases, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa has so far categorically excluded the possibility of re-introducing lapsed Covid measures, saying that it’ll be a “restriction-free summer”.

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