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EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules on Italy’s beaches this summer?

EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules on Italy's beaches this summer?
Photo by Azat Satlykov on Unsplash
Now that people can return to Italy's beaches for sport and relaxation, what kind of Covid-19 rules and restrictions are in place? Here's what you need to know.

Travel in Italy has restarted and the country has opened up to some international tourists as coronavirus restrictions ease across the nation. 

The health data is improving with Italy recording its lowest weekly rates of Covid-19 infections since October 2020, even if some restrictions currently stay in place.

As more regions move into the lowest-risk ‘white zone’ classification, readers of The Local have been getting in touch to work out if and how they can travel to Italy this summer.

There’s more to consider if you do manage to spend your holiday in Italy this summer once you arrive, though.

If you plan to head to Italy’s beaches and spend some time by the sea, you’ll need to be aware of  the government guidelines that apply to both ‘lidos’ – beaches where you use a sunbed – and public or ‘free’ beaches (spiaggie libere).

The rules also apply to other outdoor facilities like campsites.

READ ALSO: Where to find even more of Italy’s best beaches in 2021

Photo: Ruth Troughton on Unsplash

On the beach

You’ll see the prevention measures when you head to the coast and this should be made clear to international tourists who don’t speak Italian.

If you plan to pay for a sunbed and umbrella, you’ll need to be escorted by a beach steward, who should explain the protocol to you.

It’s recommended that you book your place at the beach beforehand, rather than just turn up. The details you provide will also be kept on an attendance list for 14 days for the sake of track and tracing in the case of a person testing positive for Covid-19.

To access bathing services, you’ll have your body temperature checked and you will be denied access if it exceeds 37.5 degrees.

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As has become customary by now, there’ll be hand gel available and staff will be wearing masks. It’s also advised that you pay electronically to avoid physical handling of cash.

Flow systems with one-way entrance and exits will be in place to prevent crowds too.

To ensure distancing between beachgoers, beach facilities must provide you with 10 square metres per umbrella and there must be 1 metre distance between beach equipment, such as sun loungers and deck chairs, if there is no umbrella.

Interpersonal distancing rules don’t apply to members of the same family or those staying in the same hotel room.

On free beaches where you don’t pay for these services, the distancing rules apply to your own umbrellas and beach equipment.

What about playing sports and swimming in the sea?

As for playing sports on the beach, including beach volleyball or football, “it is forbidden to engage in group games or sports activities that may lead to gatherings,” stated the government guidelines.

However, they are allowed as long as they “comply with the regulations of the competent institutions,” the government added.

READ ALSO: Is Italy really going to offer vaccines to tourists this summer?

Individual activities like swimming in the sea, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing are all permitted, provided you keep your distance from others, in accordance with the overall coronavirus prevention measures.

Do I have to wear a mask at the beach?

Although beach staff will be required to masks, holidaymakers won’t have to unless you’re in a enclosed space.

The only time you’ll be required to wear a mask in the open air is when it’s not possible to maintain a distance of one metre from others.

There is no requirement to wear a mask during physical activity, so no need to worry about taking a waterproof mask in the sea with you.

Covid-19 camping rules

Attached to many beaches in Italy are campsites and the rules extend to these facilities too.

For those pitching tents or staying in caravans while in Italy, there needs to be 3 metres between the entrance of each accommodation and there must be 1.5 metres between outdoor equipment such as tables, chairs, deckchairs and sun loungers for example.

You’ll be responsible for disinfecting your indoor and outdoor furniture, unless otherwise stated by the campsite.

The campsite owners will be required to sanitise shared toilet facilities two to three times a day, depending on occupancy.


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