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EXPLAINED: What are the rules in Italy’s Covid ‘orange’ zones?

Some regions of Italy risk being designated as Covid 'orange' zones with the government imposing new nationwide restrictions on the unvaccinated as cases rise. Here’s how the rules have been updated for 'orange' zones.

People wear protective face masks as they walk along the Via del Corso main shopping street in central Rome, Italy
Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Austria. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

The Italian regions of Liguria, Calabria, Marche and the autonomous province of Trento could turn into a higher-risk ‘orange’ zone on Monday, as Covid cases and hospital admissions continue to soar.

No regions are currently under ‘orange’ zone restrictions, although some municipalities have already independently adopted the appropriate health measures for orange zones in a bid to relieve pressure on their hospitals.

A total of 11 Italian regions or autonomous provinces are currently moderate-risk ‘yellow’ zones, while the rest of the country remains for now in the least-restricted ‘white’ zone.

READ ALSO: What changes about life in Italy in January 2022

Since the government introduced new restrictions for the unvaccinated last month, a ‘reinforced’ Covid health certificate or ‘super green pass’ is required to access many venues and services across the country, while the rules on where the pass is needed vary for different zones.

The ‘super green pass’ is available only to those who are vaccinated against or have recovered from the virus – as opposed to the basic green pass, which can be obtained by testing negative for Covid every two to three days (depending on whether the test taken is molecular or rapid antigen).

It has already been made compulsory for access to almost all leisure, social or sporting activities in the country and the government is also considering extending it to all workplaces.

The health certificate is due to be a requirement at even more places from January 10th, including all restaurants and bars and public transport.

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

The restrictions for those living in an ‘orange’ zone mainly affect the unvaccinated. Those who have a basic green pass will no longer be allowed to attend concerts and events that involve gatherings, will be banned from indoor restaurants and bars, places where cultural events take place, as well as parties and occasions that involve gatherings. This will cover all activities both indoors and outdoors.

At the time of writing, Italy’s health ministry has removed its official guidance relating to yellow, orange and red zone restrictions from its website. The Local has based this explainer on the government’s updated ‘super green pass’ guidance, and on Italian media reports.

Here’s what we know so far about Italy’s updated restrictions for ‘orange’ zone territories. We will update this page when the health ministry releases further official guidelines.


Travel within your own municipality is still allowed, while travel to other municipalities in the same region and to other regions is only allowed for reasons of necessity if you don’t hold any green pass whatsoever – and must be justified by self-certification.

Holders of the basic and super green pass, on the other hand, can travel freely within and outside the region. An exception is the rule for travel from municipalities with a maximum of 5,000 inhabitants to other municipalities within 30 kilometres. Aside from not being allowed to go to provincial capitals, in this case, travel is permitted for everyone.

Going to work

To access public and private workplaces, with the exception of healthcare staff, police, teachers and emergency services workers for whom vaccination is compulsory, a basic green pass is sufficient for now. But the government is shortly due to make a decision on whether to extend the super green pass requirement to all workplaces.

Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP


A super green pass is compulsory to access shopping centres on public holidays and ‘pre-holidays’ such as the night before a festival day. Grocery stores, newsagents, bookshops, pharmacies and tobacconists are exempt from any green pass requirement.

Health and social care facilities

In an ‘orange’ zone, you will only be able to enter with proof of a negative test or a third booster shot of an anti-Covid vaccine.

Bars, restaurants, hotels

As of January 10th, bars and restaurants require customers to show a ‘super green pass’ to eat at the counter and to sit both indoors and outdoors. This rule applies throughout Italy. In ‘orange’ zones, the super green pass will be compulsory for food service, both indoors and outdoors and for those staying in hotels.


Outdoor sports activities are still allowed, even in an ‘orange’ zone. From January 10th, gyms, swimming pools and changing rooms will require a super green pass. The same applies to indoor team sports.

Cultural activities and events

Indoor performances require a super green pass. This applies to theatres, concerts and cinemas, as well as museums and exhibitions. It is forbidden to eat inside the space where the event is taking place.


In the ‘orange’ zone, you need a super green pass to buy ski passes for use of ski lifts and also cable cars, gondolas and chairlifts if they have closed canopies.


Stadiums and sporting events

Access to sports events and competitions in stadiums and arenas is restricted to holders of a super green pass. The capacity of stadiums and arenas must not exceed 60 percent indoors and 75 percent outdoors.

Cinemas, theatres, museums and other activities

Access to cinemas, theatres, concert halls, entertainment venues and live music venues indoors is only allowed to those with the reinforced health certificate, as is entry to exhibitions and museums.

Discotheques and dance halls

These are closed currently until the end of January.


Only those with a super green pass will be allowed to attend weddings, regardless of whether they are civil or religious ceremonies.

Health resorts and amusement parks

Access to wellness centres and spas, both outdoor and indoor, is closed to those who do not have a super green pass, unless you go to these places for health or therapeutic reasons. Theme and amusement parks are only open to those carrying a super green pass. Finally, access to cultural, social and recreational centres, indoors or outdoors, is forbidden to those without the super green pass, as is access to gambling halls, betting halls, bingo halls and casinos.

Public competitions

To take part in public competitions in the ‘orange’ zone, you must have at least a basic green pass, which can be obtained by a negative test result.

Local authorities can decide to impose stricter rules at short notice. Always check the latest restrictions in your province or town: find out how here.

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. I am English, fully vaccinated with digital EU and British passes, about to travel by car from Italy into France to return to UK.
    What form do I need to enter France from Italy?

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‘Not offensive’: Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani defended the policy of testing all arrivals from China for Covid-19 after Beijing said the policy "lacks scientific basis".

'Not offensive': Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

“It seems perfectly normal to me,” Tajani told Italian state broadcaster Rai on Tuesday. “Having a test is a way to protect people’s health. There is nothing offensive about it.”

“Lots of Chinese and Italians coming from China do it (anyway),” he claimed.

READ ALSO: Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Italy was the first European country to make testing on arrival a requirement for passengers arriving on flights from China last week, after a surge in the infection rate there.

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said on Wednesday that the screening requirement was “essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population”.

READ ALSO: Italy pushes for EU-wide China Covid measures as tests show no new variants

France and Spain have since introduced similar rules (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) and there is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the screening policy would be “ineffective” if not done on a European level, as only people arriving on direct flights from China were being tested in Italy, not those with stopovers.

But the Chinese government on Tuesday hit out at countries introducing a policy of mandatory testing for people arriving from China.

“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted as saying at a briefing by AFP.

“This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable”.

She said Beijing may “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”.