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COVID-19 RULES

Calendar: When do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change?

With many of Italy's Covid-related safety measures changing in the coming days and weeks, here's what to expect and when.

Tourists wearing protective masks walk in front of an entrance of the commercial gallery
Tourists wearing protective masks walk in front of an entrance of the commercial gallery "Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II" near Duomo square in the centre of Milan on January 3, 2022. Miguel MEDINA / AFP

This article was last updated on January 20th, 2022.

As the number of coronavirus infections continues to surge in Italy and across Europe, the Italian government has brought in tighter restrictions amid at controlling the spread under three new decrees announced in the space of as many weeks.

Among other things, new rules include a vaccine mandate for over-50s, the return of the obligation to wear masks outdoors, and making proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 mandatory for entry to more venues.

There has been widespread confusion about many of the changes as start and end dates were not immediately confirmed when the decrees were first announced, and many measures did not come into effect immediately.

To help make sense of the rapid changes, here’s a breakdown of the new rules included in the December 24th decree (see the full text here in Italian), the December 30th decree (text here), the January 5th decree (government press release here – the full text has yet to be published) and when each one comes into effect.

December 25th:

From the 25th, the government’s decree also closed down nightclubs, including “dance halls, discos and similar venues” under rules in place until January 31st.

The decree also extended the ‘green pass’ requirement to bars and restaurants, including for counter service. Effective from December 25th until March 31st, the ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass requirement applies to all customers. 

Previously, ordering and consuming food and drinks at the bar had been allowed without any ‘green pass’ restrictions. The changes mean proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 is now required even to drink coffee while standing at the counter.

Tighter rules on wearing masks came in from the same date.

After discussions for many weeks, Italy has brought back a requirement to wear face masks in all outdoor public spaces, even in the lowest risk ‘white’ zones. The rule change is in force from December 25th until at least January 31st.

FFP2 masks are now required in certain venues including cinemas, theatres, sporting events and on “all means of transport”, the decree states, until March 31st.

Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

From December 30th:

Tighter restrictions will be placed on visitors to residential healthcare, elderly care and hospice facilities, who from that date must show a reinforced green pass proving vaccination or recovery plus a negative test result or proof of having had a booster shot.

From December 31st:

The rules on quarantine for those who have been in contact with a positive case (not for those who test positive) were changed under a decree law announced on December 29th, amid surging case numbers driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Quarantine is no longer required for close contacts of those positive for Covid-19 if they have had a booster dose, or were fully vaccinated or recovered within the last four months (120 days).

They are instead required to wear a more protective FFP2 mask at all times in public for 10 days and, if they have symptoms, take a test within five days of contact with the positive person.

For those who are unvaccinated or had their last shot more than four months ago, the rules remain unchanged. Find a guide to the new quarantine rules here.

From January 10th:

The reinforced or ‘super’ green pass requirement will be extended to the following venues from this date, according to the health ministry’s green pass website (here in Italian).

  • All restaurants and bars, for both indoor and outdoor dining, including in hotels
  • All public transport, including local buses
  • School buses serving children aged 12 and up
  • Hotels
  • Ski lifts
  • All indoor and outdoor swimming pools, wellness centres, gyms and team sports facilities, including changing rooms
  • All indoor and outdoor spas and thermal baths except for “essential rehabilitation or therapeutic treatments”
  • Museums, exhibitions and cultural venues, including libraries
  • Celebrations relating to religious or civil ceremonies
  • Fairs, festivals, conventions and conferences
  • Theme parks
  • Indoor and outdoor cultural, social and recreational centres (excluding educational centres for children)
  • Games rooms, betting rooms, bingo halls and casinos

This is in addition to the venues where the super green pass is already required:

  • Indoor theatres, cinemas and concert halls
  • Sports stadiums and events
  • Visits to residential and care homes (with the addition of either a booster dose or a negative test)

Italy’s reinforced green pass. first introduced in early December, can only be obtained via vaccination or recovery and not with a negative test result.

From January 10th, booster doses of anti-Covid-19 vaccines will be made available four months after the last dose, instead of five as is currently the case, Italy’s pandemic emergency commissioner has confirmed.

From January 20th:

With the latest decree of January 5th comes the requirement to produce a basic ‘green pass’, which can be obtained through vaccination, recovery, or a recent negative test result, to access ‘personal services’ such as hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons.

The Italian government is working on another decree containing additional green pass requirements in shops, but details are yet to be confirmed as of January 20th.

From February 1st:

The basic green pass will be required from this date to access “public offices, postal, banking, and financial services, and commercial activities” (such as shopping centres), “except for those necessary to ensure the fulfilment of essential and primary needs of the person.”

Grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies are considered essential services and are therefore excluded from the requirement.

The January 5th decree introduces an immediate vaccine mandate for all over-50s in Italy, and this is the date by which all those in the age bracket should be vaccinated. Those who aren’t vaccinated by February 1st face a 100 euro fine.

The mandate is in place in the first instance until June 15, 2022, and applies to anyone due to turn 50 by that date.

Finally, the validity of the ‘green pass’ health certificate based on vaccination is set to be cut from nine months to six from February 1st.

This means the pass will be valid from six months after the date of your last vaccination. The pass should be renewed for another six months after a booster dose.

From February 15th:

From this date all those in the 50-plus age bracket will require a ‘super green pass’ to enter the workplace.

Employees over 50 caught in their workplace without the super green pass are subject to fines of between 600 and 1500 euros.

Those barred from entering the workplace because they don’t have a pass can’t be fired, but will be marked as absent without leave and will have their pay frozen until they can produce the pass and resume their employment.

See the latest news and updates from The Local on Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures and travel restrictions.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (available in English).

Member comments

  1. Question: Regarding quarantine with having had the vaccine (Pfizer) and a Booster (Pfizer)…I understand that if one has exposure and is within 4 months of the vaccine that if one has no symptoms, one is only required to mask and not quarantine. BUT is it 4 months after the Booster also? Or does the Booster simply satisfy without a time requirement? With the “comma” in the statement above, it would appear that the 4 months after the Booster does not apply, but that the Booster stands alone.

  2. In the io app from February my green pass will show as expired so even when in other EU countries or the UK that don’t impose the 6 month limit my pass will no longer work.

    Does it work the other way round for people visiting Italy? If their COVID pass is valid longer than 6 months (and I think it still is in many places) will that work without issue in Italy?

    As these green pass rules don’t affect entry into Italy (there’s no 6 month vaccination limit yet on entering the country) could someone legally enter the country and then find out they’re not even able to get a bus/train from the airport or check into their hotel?

  3. What a confusing mess. All for a variant that is significantly less dangerous than Delta. Why do people just roll over and accept this like it’s the new normal? Is the Italian healthcare system failing? How can that be the case when deaths are most likely going to peak at something like 1/3 or 1/4 what they were at the beginning and last winter? Why is there no investigation or explanation of the difference between deaths because of covid and deaths with covid? Why does nobody talk about the fact that with Omicron we are seeing an increase in people who go to the hospital for something completely unrelated to covid, but are tested because I guess now we are testing literally everybody, and then they test positive even though they aren’t displaying any serious covid symptoms? If what the Italian government is doing is necessary to prevent apocalypse why is the UK handling omicron completely differently and doing fine? Give it maybe a day, this comment will be deleted, because you know, we can’t encourage people questioning the authorities now can we.

    1. Why is the Italian government doing this? Because they control the masses via fear and manipulation. Given its sordid past with fascism, it’s amazing they’ve let this control get out of hand. Someone take us back to the two prime-ministers a year era. It was a much happier country then.

  4. My question is regarding testing requirements and timelines to enter Italy. It seems there is much confusion. My travel agent told me, about a month ago, that you must take your test antigen, or PCR, in the allotted time before you board the plane in your hometown. For example, if you take an antigen test, it must be 24 hours before you board your plane to leave your town to go to Italy. I am now hearing that the test must be taken 24 hours before you land in Italy. For example, I leave my hometown at 12 noon, travel to Atlanta airport for my connecting flight, and then departing Atlanta for Italy about 6 PM. When would I have to take the 24 hour antigen test? 24 hours before I board my hometown plane, or 24 hours before I land in Italy. I think as of January 10 it became 24 hours before landing in Italy. This would be very difficult to do in a 24 hour time slot. Does anyone know If the rule has changed? If so what in the world time would I take my test?

  5. My question is regarding testing requirements and timelines to enter Italy. It seems there is much confusion. My travel agent told me, about a month ago, that you must take your test antigen, or PCR, in the allotted time before you board the plane in your hometown. For example, if you take an antigen test, it must be 24 hours before you board your plane to leave your town to go to Italy. I am now hearing that the test must be taken 24 hours before you land in Italy. Does anyone know the current rule? Thanks

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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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