EXPLAINED: When do you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Italy?

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EXPLAINED: When do you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Italy?
Whether you're going for a jog or just a leisurely walk in Italy, neither situation will require the use of a face mask outdoors anymore. But there are some exceptions to the rule. Photo: Laurent EMMANUEL / AFP

From Friday, February 11th, it’s no longer compulsory to wear a face mask in all outdoor public spaces in Italy. But there are some situations where mask-wearing in outdoor settings is still required. 


Italy lifted its blanket outdoor mask requirement on Friday, ten days after the mandate received a last-minute extension from health authorities.

The requirement had been due to expire on January 31st, but Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed an ordinance that same day extending the mandate for an additional ten days.

READ ALSO: Italy reopens nightclubs and eases Covid outdoor mask rule from Friday

Masks were first made compulsory outdoors in Italy in October 2020. The rule was then scrapped for six months from late June to December 2021 as Covid infections dropped, but with the spike in Omicron cases this winter the government chose to reintroduce the outdoor mask requirement last Christmas Eve. 

A new ordinance signed by Speranza on February 8th confirmed that the outdoor mask restriction would be lifted on Friday, February 11th.

It was initially thought that the easing would apply only to Italy's least-restricted 'white' zones, under the country's four-tiered system of Covid restrictions; however within a few hours of issuing the ordinance deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa confirmed it would apply throughout the country.

Despite the easing of the restriction, there are still situations in outdoor public settings where everyone over the age of six has to wear a face mask. 

When you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Italy:

  • In busy outdoor areas, such as stadiums, queues, and markets, and areas outside public buildings such as schools and churches during busy hours. That means people in Italy are still required to carry a mask with them at all times in preparation for finding themselves in a crowded area.
  • In regions where rules differ from those set at the national level. As local authorities can and often do put additional restrictions in place, it is advisable to check whether the rules on wearing masks differ in your area via your regional government's website. Campania's president Vincenzo De Luca, for example, has announced that the requirement will remain in place throughout the region until at least February 28th.

Meanwhile, Italy still requires the wearing of masks in all indoor public spaces.

This rule applies to everyone in the country except for those categories of people listed as exempt in the January 8th ordinance.


Who is exempt from having to wear a mask indoors and outdoors:

  • Children under the age of six.
  • People with breathing difficulties or respiratory problems whose condition could worsen as a result of wearing a face mask. 
  • People whose need to communicate with a disabled person would be made unfeasible by the wearing of a mask.
  • People carrying out "sports activities" (these are not defined by the ordinance).

Rules on indoor mask-wearing in Italy remain unchanged, which means that masks are required in all public indoor spaces.

Since December 24th, 2021, high grade FFP2 masks have been required on all public transport in Italy, as well as in cinemas, theatres, live music or entertainment venues, stadiums and sports halls.


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mikelawson2k 2022/02/15 11:29
Outdoor mask wearing of any kind, except for in the most crowded situations, is the most pointless mandate during this pandemic. People have forgotten why the rules were made and just cling to a security blanket like a young child. Compare the case data, transmissibility and hospitalizations of Italy, where outdoor masks have been drilled into the population, versus other countries who have never worn masks outside. Many countries don't really enforce indoor masks - yet Italians cling to their masks like religious fanatics. If you feel safer with a mask on - good for you, I wouldn't want to stop you, but this understanding should also be applied to those who are grown up enough to assess their own personal risk and make their minds up. The nanny state rules supreme here.
denise_6108136a65839 2022/02/11 14:45
For mask wearing does it still require the N95 masks only or you can wear any masks

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