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TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

As Italy's vaccination rate rises and its health situation continues to improve, the country has started putting in place a roadmap for lifting its Covid-19 restrictions.

A man and a woman walk in a street of Ventimiglia on August 05, 2020.
Italy is preparing a roadmap for easing its coronavirus restrictions. Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP

As several countries across Europe have recently announced the end of many Covid-19 health measures, from mask mandates to vaccine passes, Italy’s government has also begun preparing a timeline for easing its own restrictions.

After weeks of speculation and uncertainty, Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Tuesday confirmed the end of the state of emergency and the lifting of certain rules from March 31st.

Separately, the Italian government also announced this week that restrictions on travel from non-EU countries will also be eased.

Here are the key dates to be aware of for changes to the rules, both within Italy and when crossing the border:

March 1st

From March 1st, Italy will allow all fully-vaccinated or recently-recovered travellers from non-EU countries to enter the country without the additional need for a negative Covid test, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced on Tuesday.

Any of a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result will allow extra-EU arrivals entry into Italy without any quarantine requirement – so unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter the country with just proof of a negative test.

This follows Italy’s introduction of the same rule for EU arrivals on February 1st.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s travel rules change in March

Outdoor dining in Italian restaurants currently requires proof of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP

Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.

You also still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

See further details of the upcoming changes to the travel restrictions here.

March 10th

From March 10th, it will reportedly once again be possible to consume food and drink in cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums in Italy, following a unanimous vote by the Italian parliament’s Social Affairs Commission on February 17th.

Consumption of food and drink in these venues had been banned and their bars and food counters closed since Christmas, when the rapid spread of the Omicron variant prompted the government to issue a series of emergency decrees tightening Italy’s health restrictions.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What Covid-19 rules are now in place in Italy?

March 10th is also the date from which people will be allowed to visit their family members in hospital throughout Italy for 45 minutes per day, including in intensive care units, multiple Italian news outlets have reported.

Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will be able to access health facilities to visit their relatives without any further requirements, while people who haven’t received a booster shot will need a negative test to enter.

March 31st

This is the date when Italy’s current state of emergency or stato di emergenza is next set to expire – and this time, it’s for good.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday that Italy’s emergency status would not be extended beyond this date.

“The epidemiological situation is greatly improving thanks to the success of the vaccine campaign, and this gives us room to remove the remaining restrictions on people and companies,” Draghi told a business conference in Florence on Wednesday.

Italy’s state of emergency, first declared on January 31st, 2020 as the first cases of coronavirus were detected in Rome, is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

By March 31st, 2022, following a series of extensions, Italy’s state of emergency will have been in place for 26 months – two months longer than the maximum period theoretically allowed under Italian law.

Removing the state of emergency doesn’t automatically mean that all current restrictions will be immediately dropped; however Draghi did announce on Wednesday the government’s intention to gradually remove the obligation to show proof of vaccination or recovery at many venues, without providing any specific dates.

April 1st

From April 1st, Draghi confirmed at Wednesday’s conference, Italy’s four-tiered colour coded system of Covid restrictions will be abolished altogether.

The outdoor mask mandate, school contact quarantine rules and the requirement to wear high-grade FFP2 masks in classrooms will also be lifted in April, he said, without giving specific dates.

Italian news outlets including Corriere della Sera suggest that April 1st is the date on which the requirement to show a ‘super green pass‘ – proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 – while dining outdoors at cafes and restaurants and to access outdoor sports facilities and swimming pools could be removed.

Currently, proof of recovery or vaccination from Covid (via an Italian ‘super green pass’ for residents of Italy or foreign-issued certificates for tourists) is required to dine both indoors and outdoors at bars and restaurants, as well as to access all public transport, hotels, cinemas, sports centres, and most other services and leisure venues in Italy.

READ ALSO: How long will Italy keep its Covid green pass system in place?

As things stand, this date appears to be purely speculative; the government has not yet provided any firm timeline for the lifting of green pass restrictions.

Draghi on Tuesday said only that the government would “gradually put an end to the super green pass requirement, starting with open air activities including fairs, sport, celebrations, and shows.”

June 15th

This is the date by which Italy’s vaccine mandate for over-50s is currently due to expire.

Anyone in Italy aged 50 and up, and anyone due to turn 50 by June 15th, is currently required to get vaccinated, with those who refuse facing a one-time €100 fine to be taken automatically by Italy’s Revenue Collections Agency (L’Agenzia delle entrate). 

As of February 15th, over-50s who work must also produce a ‘super green pass’ showing proof of having been vaccinated within the past six months or having received a booster dose in order to enter their workplace – those caught without one face fines of up to €1,500.

As things stand, this requirement is due to be lifted on June 15th; however it’s very possible that the mandate will be extended closer to the time.

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

Member comments

  1. I’m a New Zealander waiting to fly out 2 March for Venice. Sadly, we are still shown as needing a PCR test. Italy has relaxed the rules for “some” non-EU people.

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Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italian heathcare staff suspended over their refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can now return to work, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed on Monday.

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italy become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

That obligation had been set to expire in December, but was brought forward to Tuesday due to “a shortage of medical and health personnel”, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

READ ALSO: Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and has since registered nearly 180,000 deaths.

Schillaci first announced the plan to scrap the rule on Friday in a statement saying data showed the virus’ impact on hospitals  “is now limited”.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

Meloni said the move, which has been criticised by the centre-left as a win for anti-vax campaigners, would mean some 4,000 healthcare workers can return to work.

This includes some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination, according to records at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic, when it was the main opposition party, and she promised to use her first cabinet meetings to mark a clear break in policies with her predecessor.