Italy has required face masks to be worn outdoors as well as indoors since October 2020, and as temperatures soar across the country many people will be relieved to hear that these rules are about to be relaxed.
Masks will no longer be compulsory at all times outdoors in Italy from Monday June 28th, the health minister said on Monday.
The lifting of the mask requirement will come into effect in regions labelled “white” under Italy’s classification system, Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote on social media.
Dal 28 giugno superiamo l’obbligo di indossare le mascherine all’aperto in zona bianca, ma sempre nel rispetto delle indicazioni precauzionali stabilite dal Cts.
— Roberto Speranza (@robersperanza) June 21, 2021
This classification already covers all Italian regions except the Aosta Valley in the northwest, and is expected to apply to the whole country from the 28th.
Speranza’s announcement came on advice from Italy’s Comitato Tecnico Scientifico (CTS) scientific advisory panel, which said people should still have masks at hand for events with higher risk of spreading the virus like large gatherings.
The review came as Italy allowed more regions to drop most coronavirus restrictions on Monday, after health data showed the infection rate was still falling nationwide.
The Italian rules currently state that masks must be worn at all times when out of the house, indoors and outdoors, “except in cases where, due to the characteristics of the place or the circumstances, isolation is continuously guaranteed.”
Social distancing is expected to remain in place and people will still be required to carry masks with them, according to media reports, as concerns remain high in Italy about a potential rise in new coronavirus cases fuelled by the Delta variant.
While few cases caused by the new variant have been confirmed in Italy so far, the country analyses a relatively small number of tests to identify the virus strain behind infections.
Italy’s health authorities will increase the number of tests being sequenced from this week in order to help identify potential outbreaks, news agency Ansa reports.
Amid concern about new variants, Italy has from Monday extended a ban on travel from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and brought in a five-day quarantine requirement for arrivals from the UK.
Italy has been reporting around 2,000 new daily infections on average nationwide since June 7th – the lowest figures seen since September 2020.
Italy has fully vaccinated 30 percent of the population over 12 years old as of Tuesday, official figures show.
In total, more than 46 million vaccine doses have been administered in Italy, though health authorities warn that one dose may not offer sufficient protection from Delta and other variants.