Covid-19: Italian government approves reopening decree

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Covid-19: Italian government approves reopening decree
A waiter prepares to close a bar-restaurant on Piazza Navona in Rome on October 26, 2020, as the country faces a second wave of infections to the Covid-19 (the novel coronavirus). - Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tightened nationwide coronavirus restrictions on October 25, 2020 after the country registered a record number of new cases, despite opposition from regional heads and street protests over curfews. Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools must all close under the new rules, which come into force on October 26, 2020 and run until November 24, while restaurants and bars will stop serving at 6pm, the prime minister's office said. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

The Italian government on Wednesday evening approved the new 'reopening' decree, containing details of the country’s plan for easing coronavirus restrictions over the coming weeks and months.


Many of Italy’s current restrictions will be relaxed in lower-risk areas only from Monday April 26th, a statement on the government’s website confirmed.

The updated emergency decree covers the period from April 26th until July 31st.

Among other things, the new decree will extend the current state of emergency until July 31st.


The lower-risk ‘yellow’ zone classifications will return from this date, alongside the orange and red zones currently covering the whole country.

All schools and universities will be able to resume in-person teaching in yellow and orange zones. 

Theatres, museums and cinemas will be allowed to reopen, while restaurants will be able to serve people at outdoor tables for both lunch and dinner.

But restaurants that do not have outdoor space will have to wait until June 1st to serve customers at tables again, and then only at lunchtime.

The nationwide ban on travel between regions will also no longer apply in yellow zones.

Travel to and from areas which remain classed as higher-risk red and orange zones will be allowed using a new travel “pass”.


Photo: Tiziana FABI / AFP

The nationwide evening curfew remains at 10pm, despite calls for it to be moved to 11pm to allow people more time to eat dinner at reopened restaurants.

The easing of some restrictions will come as a relief to residents who have effectively been under a form of lockdown since mid-March.

However, concerns remain about the safety of reopening now amid a still-high infection rate and ongoing delays to the vaccine rollout in Italy

Some health experts warned on Monday that reopening too soon would risk triggering a new wave of infections that could put the summer tourist season in jeopardy.

IN NUMBERS: Is it too soon for Italy to relax its coronavirus restrictions?

The health minister insisted the government was taking a “calculated risk” as the reopening was announced on Friday.

Many restrictions are expected to remain in place for now in areas designated higher-risk red and orange zones, and rules will still depend on local health data.


The government did not confirm any plans to relax the current restrictions on travel to Italy.

The tourism minister last week suggested June 2nd as a possible date for restarting non-essential travel, though this has not yet been confirmed.

For more information on the restrictions please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).


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