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Where in Italy do you still need to wear a face mask?

Italy's rules on wearing masks were eased at the start of May - but not completely removed. Here's what you need to know.

Which indoor public spaces in Italy will continue to require a mask from May 1st?
Which indoor public spaces in Italy will continue to require a mask from May 1st? Photo: THOMAS COEX / AFP

Mask-wearing was required by law in all indoor public spaces in Italy until the end of April, with higher-grade FFP2 masks required in certain spaces and lower-grade surgical masks accepted in others.

As of May 1st, the rules became a little more complicated, as Italy’s mask mandate was dropped for some venues while remaining in place for others.

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

So where do you still need to wear a mask in Italy now- and what type of mask do you need for which venue?

Here’s a reminder of the rules in place until June 15th:

Public transport

The requirement to wear a high-grade Ffp2 mask remains in place for all local and long-distance public transport in Italy. 

That includes planes, ships, trains, buses and coaches, local public transport networks, and school buses carrying primary and secondary aged schoolchildren, the health ministry’s latest ordinance specifies.

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls

Anyone attending a performance in these environments must also continue to wear an FFP2 mask. The requirement isn’t restricted to large spaces: any indoor entertainment space and any venue playing live music requires the FFP2 mask until June 15th.

Indoor sports events or competitions

FFP2 masks are required for all indoor sporting events and competitions, according to the health ministry’s current guidance.

As was previously the case, those participating in the events themselves don’t need to wear a mask while actively engaged in physical activity.

Health and social care facilities

All health and social care environments such as hospitals and residential homes require face masks to be worn by anyone accessing the facilities, including workers, users and visitors.

However, the ordinance does not specify that an FFP2 mask is required for these settings, merely saying that ‘respiratory protection devices’ (such as surgical masks) should be used.


Schools are one of the few environments for which Italy’s government had already decided masks should remain in place until the end of the academic year.

That remains the case with the new rules, so until the summer holidays, those in schools will need to continue masking up – though it doesn’t have to be a high-grade FFP2 mask unless specific Covid contact rules are triggered.

Italy will continue to require masks in classrooms until the end of the school year.
Italy will continue to require masks in classrooms until the end of the academic year. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.

Places that no longer require a mask

Shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, museums and other cultural sites no longer require a mask from May 1st, according to the health ministry’s ordinance.

Workplaces also no longer require masks to be worn at all times; however the Minister for Public Administration issued a circular recommending (not requiring) the continued use of masks by public sector workers when in contact with members of the public, in canteens and lifts, and during face to face meetings.

The health ministry’s ordinance also “recommends” that masks continue to be worn in all indoor public spaces.

It’s important to bear in mind that the rule change that came into effect on May 1st means only that these venues are no longer required by law to enforce a mask mandate.

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

Individual workplaces, businesses and local authorities can still impose stricter rules at their own discretion. Therefore, the rules can vary from one part of Italy to another, and even from one bar or restaurant to another.

In any case, it’s always advisable to keep a mask to hand in case you’re asked to put one on.

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

Member comments

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. „The health ministry’s mask extension ordinance makes no mention of shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, museums and other cultural sites. All of these spaces will (as planned) no longer require a mask from May 1st.“ Is that true? Masks are still required in Pinacoteca in Milan. Does anyone know why?

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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.