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COVID-19 RULES

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

Over two years since Italy’s Covid emergency began, the Italian government has published its long-awaited roadmap back to normality.

TIMELINE: Where and when will Italy relax its Covid rules?
People take photos at the Roman Forum in Rome. The Italian government on Thursday approved plans to lift all remaining Covid health restrictions in the coming months. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

On Friday, the Italian government published the text of its long-awaited decreto riapertura, or ‘reopening decree’, laying out the country’s roadmap towards the end of the current Covid restrictions by early summer.

Though Prime Minister Mario Draghi first announced the plans at a press conference on March 17th, many of the details had been unclear until now.

As expected, measures will be lifted gradually over a number of weeks. The main dates to remember are April 1st and May 1st.

Here’s an overview of what will change and when according to the final text of the decree (see it here, in Italian).

April 1st

Italy’s state of emergency will officially end on March 31st, over two years after it was first introduced. 

Some restrictions will be gradually relaxed or removed starting from the following day, Friday, April 1st.

From this date, the green pass or certificato verde will no longer be needed to access hotels, museums, shops and local offices (including bank branches and post offices).

Proof of a negative Covid test result will be enough for entry to indoor bars and restaurantswhile you’ll no longer need any form of health pass at all to sit at outdoor tables at bars and restaurants.

Italy’s Prime Minister, Mario Draghi takes off his mask to speak about the planned lifting of the country’s Covid-19 state of emergency and restrictions at a press conference on March 17th. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The capacity of outdoor clubs and stadiums will be restored to 100 percent, and proof of a negative test result will also be accepted in order to access open-air concerts, stadiums, 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).

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

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

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

For local public and regional public transport services (such as city buses and trams), no certificate of any kind will be required from April 1st.

Until May 1st, however, the use of Ffp2 face masks will remain mandatory on all means of public transportation; from trains and ferries to taxis and ski lifts.

Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Schools will also no longer employ any distance learning or ‘DAD’ (didattica a distanza) from April 1st. That means full presence in class and the return of school trips and sports days, which have been cancelled for the past couple of years.

The requirement to wear masks, meanwhile, remains in force until the end of the school year – children under 6 years old remain exempt. Surgical masks as well as Ffp2 are accepted.

Quarantines will also be scrapped. Until the end of March, four positive cases in a class triggers DAD for the whole class. From April 1st, if there are positive cases, the class can still attend school with an Ffp2 mask for 10 days.

May 1st

From this date, Italy will finally bid farewell to the much-contested green pass (basic or super) in almost all situations, including in indoor restaurants and on interregional public transport..

There will be one exception: those wishing to visit friends or relatives in hospitals or care homes will be required to show a valid ‘super green pass. This measure is expected to remain in place until at least December 31st, 2022.

Also from May 1st, Italy will say goodbye to another staple of the ‘Covid era’, namely face masks. Masks will no longer be necessary indoors, nor on public transport.

For schools, external staff and parents are no longer required to have a green pass to enter school premises.

June 15th

This date brings the end of the Covid vaccination mandate for people aged over 50, teachers and those in the emergency services and armed forces

It is worth remembering that, although mandatory vaccination will remain in place throughout April and May, people over 50 will only be required to provide a valid ‘basic’ green pass  in order to enter workplaces. 

This marks a large departure from previous measures, which effectively prevented all residents without a valid ‘super’ green pass from working.

Yet again though, there will be an exception. Vaccination will remain mandatory for hospital and care home workers up until the end of 2022. Failure to comply will be met with a €100 fine.

From this date, mandatory vaccination also ends for teachers. Until then, the decree text reads, “Vaccination is an essential requirement for carrying out teaching activities in contact with pupils.”

What about the travel rules? The incoming plans to ease Italy’s domestic restrictions do not affect the rules for international arrivals, which were last updated at the beginning of March.

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

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.

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