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COVID-19 RULES

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

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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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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