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COVID-19 RULES

UPDATE: How Italy’s Covid green pass rules change for tourists in April

Italy’s government has announced it will lift all Covid-19 health restrictions by early summer, with some set to end as soon as April 1st. What does this mean if you're travelling to Italy?

UPDATE: How Italy’s Covid green pass rules change for tourists in April
Italy plans to ease its 'green pass' rules for tourists are set to change at hotels and restaurants. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

As Italy prepares, in the words of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, to gradually “eliminate all the restrictions that have limited our behaviour”, the text of the government’s latest decree has now confirmed which rules will be eased as of April 1st.

TIMELINE: Where and when will Italy relax its Covid rules?

The Italian government published the long-awaited final text (see it here, in Italian) on Friday, more than a week after it announced the document’s approval.

Italian media reports based on a draft of the decree had stated that some rules would be lifted sooner for international tourists than for residents. But the publication of the decree confirmed that all of April’s rule changes will apply to residents and tourists alike.

Here are the rule changes you should know about if you’ll be travelling in Italy from April 1st:

Bars and restaurants

As of April 1st, proof of a negative Covid test result will be enough for entry to indoor bars and restaurants.

Since January, entry to many venues, including bars and restaurants, has been limited only to those who can show a valid ‘super’ green pass – which is issued based on proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid-19, but not via testing.

The change in rules opens up these venues to people who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 as long as they test negative.

Proof of a negative test result must be shown via a valid green pass base, or ‘basic’ green pass – the digital health certificate released after obtaining a test result from a certificated provider in Italy (such as a pharmacy or clinic).

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

However, if you’re in Italy for a longer stay bear in mind that you will need to be tested every couple of days to retain access to a valid green pass.

Passes issued based on the results of PCR tests are valid for 72 hours (from the time of testing). For rapid tests, the validity period is 48 hours.

Hotels

From April 1st, visitors staying in hotels and B&Bs will also be able to access restaurants, bars and dining rooms located in their accommodation without any type of green pass.

Public transport

The health pass requirements for accessing long-distance public transport will also be downgraded, with only a basic green pass needed (rather than a ‘super’ green pass as is currently the case).

This applies to domestic flights, ferries, high-speed and intercity trains and coaches.

The ‘super’ green pass will remain mandatory on local or regional public transport (such as city buses and trams) until May 1st.

Until the same date, the use of Ffp2 face masks will remain mandatory on all means of public transportation; from trains and ferries to taxis and ski lifts.

Stadiums and theatres

The basic green pass (see above) will be adequate for “public participation in shows open to the public, as well as in sporting events and competitions which take place outdoors”, reads the decree text. 

In other words, proof of a negative test result will now be accepted in order to access stadiums, concerts and open-air theatre performances or cinema screenings.

For indoor venues, the ‘super’ green pass remains a requirement (proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid-19, but not via testing).

Green pass requirements are then expected to be eased further from May 1st.

Masks

Italy’s existing requirement to wear a mask in all indoor and some outdoor public areas will remain in place for everyone in the country until May 1st.

Until the same date, the use of Ffp2 face masks will remain mandatory on all means of transport (including on ski lifts and in taxis) and at cinemas, theatres and many other venues.

The plan for easing Italy’s domestic restrictions does not affect the rules for international arrivals, which were last updated at the beginning of March.

The Local will continue to publish further details about the new decree as they become available.

Find information about Italy’s Covid-19 rules on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

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COVID-19 RULES

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

The health ministry is reviewing its quarantine requirements as the country's Covid-19 health situation improved again this week, according to Italian media reports.

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

Italy has taken a more cautious approach to Covid in recent months than many of its European neighbours, keeping strict isolation rules in place for anyone who tests positive for the virus.

But this could be set to change in the coming days, according to media reports, as one of Italy’s deputy health ministers said the government is about to cut the isolation period for asymptomatic cases.

“Certainly in the next few days there will be a reduction in isolation for those who are positive but have no symptoms,” Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said in a TV interview on the political talk show Agorà on Tuesday.

“We have to manage to live with the virus,” he said.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported that the compulsory isolation period could be reduced to 48 hours for those who test positive but remain asymptomatic – provided they subsequently test negative after the day two mark.

Under Italy’s current rules, vaccinated people who test positive must stay in isolation for at least seven days, and unvaccinated people for ten days – regardless of whether or not they have any symptoms.

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

At the end of the isolation period, the patient has to take another test to exit quarantine. Those who test negative are free to leave; those who remain positive must stay in isolation until they get a negative test result, up to a maximum of 21 days in total (at which point it doesn’t matter what the test result says).

Health ministry sources indicated the new rules would cut the maximum quarantine period to 15 or even 10 days for people who continue to test positive after the initial isolation period is up, La Stampa said.

The government is believed to be reviewing the rules as the latest official data showed Covid infection and hospitalisation rates were slowing again this week, as the current wave of contagions appeared to have peaked in mid-July.

However, the national Rt number (which shows the rate of transmission) remained above the epidemic threshold, and the number of fatalities continued to rise.

The proposed changes still aren’t lenient enough for some parties. Regional authorities have been pushing for an end to quarantine altogether, even for people who are actively positive – an idea Costa appears sympathetic to.

“The next step I think is to consider the idea of even eliminating the quarantine, perhaps by wearing a mask and therefore being able to go to work,” he told reporters.

“We must review the criteria for isolation, to avoid blocking the country again”.

At least one health expert, however, was unenthusiastic about the proposal.

Dr Nino Cartabellotta, head of Italy’s evidence-based medicine group Gimbe, tweeted on Tuesday: “There are currently no epidemiological or public health reasons to abolish the isolation of Covid-19 positives”

Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, was more ambivalent about the prospect.

The isolation requirement for asymptomatic cases should be “revised somewhat in the light of the epidemiological data”, he told reporters, but urged “a minimum of precaution, because the less the virus circulates and the fewer severe cases there are, the fewer new variants arise”.

When the question was last raised at the end of June, Health Minister Roberto Speranza was firmly against the idea of lifting quarantine requirements for people who were Covid positive.

“At the moment such a thing is not in question,” he told newspaper La Repubblica at the time. “Anyone who is infected must stay at home.”

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