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COVID-19 RULES

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).

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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