Italy to decide on lifting Covid mask mandate after Easter

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Italy to decide on lifting Covid mask mandate after Easter
As Italy gears up for the return of tourism this spring, many Covid rules have been eased but masks remain a requirement in many settings. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Italy's government is expected to end the requirement to wear masks in public places at the end of April, but a final decision is yet to come.


Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday that the government would wait until after Easter to decide whether to end the nationwide mask mandate from May 1st.

"I think at this time masks are still essential," Speranza said at an event organised by the RCS Academy business school and newspaper Corriere della Sera.

READ ALSO: Italy’s state of emergency is over ‘but the pandemic isn’t’, says health minister

"After Easter, in the last ten days of April, we will conduct a further evaluation with our scientific experts and decide," he said.


"But at this moment my very strong recommendation is to use a mask on all occasions when there are risks, because viral circulation is very high."

On Wednesday, Italy's health ministry recorded 62,037 new coronavirus infections and 155 Covid-linked deaths in the previous 24 hours.

At the moment, Italy still requires masks to be worn in all indoor public places - including in shops and on public transport - and in crowded outdoor areas.

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

The obligation to wear a mask in all outdoor public places ended on February 11th.

But Speranza stressed that masks are still a "fundamental safeguard" against the spread of the virus.

Masks must still be worn in all indoor public places in Italy. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

"We strongly recommend them on all occasions, even outdoors, where there is the possibility of gatherings," he said.

He reiterated: "the state of emergency is over but the pandemic is not."

Speranza said 90 percent of the Italian population aged over 12 have now had at least the first two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 39 million - more than half of the entire population - have had a booster.

Italy this week began offering a fourth dose of an anti-Covid 19 vaccine to those deemed at highest risk from the disease, including over-80s and care home residents.

Speranza said the government would also make a decision by autumn on when and how to offer further vaccine doses to the general population.

"In autumn we await new vaccines adapted to the variants," Speranza said

"There are no risks in taking more dose, but these are complex decisions and we do not yet know how long the vaccine protection lasts or whether it will be necessary to revaccinate even the youngest," he said.

Italy's Covid-19 vaccination campaign has so far prevented some 150,000 deaths, slashing the country's death toll by almost half, the national health institute (ISS) said in a report published on Wednesday.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also