After repeatedly tightening restrictions at the end of 2021, the Italian government is now discussing when and how to loosen them as the health situation has improved dramatically in recent weeks.
As we wait to hear which rules are set to be relaxed and when, here’s an overview of the rules still in place in Italy and how long they’re likely to remain in effect:
It’s no longer compulsory to wear a face mask in all outdoor public spaces in Italy, after the government relaxed this rule from Friday, February 11th,
However, mask-wearing in outdoor settings is still required in some situations, such as in crowded outdoor areas, such as markets, and areas outside public buildings such as schools and churches at busy times.
Rules on indoor mask-wearing in Italy remain unchanged, which means that masks are required in all public indoor spaces. The government does not appear to be considering lifting this rule in the near future.
In some settings, it is compulsory to wear more protective FFP2 masks; including in cinemas, theatres, live music or entertainment venues, stadiums and sports halls.
These higher-grade masks must also be worn on board public transport of all types: on planes, trains, ferries, buses, trams, coaches and the metro.
Police can issue fines of between 400-1,000 euros to those who refuse to comply with the rules on wearing masks in any setting.
Almost all businesses and services in Italy are now restricted to those who can show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19, or in some cases, a negative test result.
The ‘basic’ version of Italy’s green pass (which is also accessible via a negative test result) is a requirement for entry to businesses in the “personal services” category: namely hairdressers, barbers, and beauty salons, while the ‘reinforced’ green pass is already required for many other venues.
Restaurants, hotels, ski resorts and public transport services, as well as museums, galleries, cinemas and sports stadiums all require a ‘super green pass’, which takes the form of a QR code.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get hold of an Italian green pass if you’re just visiting; Italy recognises proof of vaccination issued abroad as equivalent, providing it meets certain requirements.
Italy’s government introduced new rules on February 5th with the aim of making it easier for foreign visitors to access venues and services using either a foreign-issued certificate of vaccination or recovery, or a negative test result. See full details of how the ‘green pass’ system works for visitors HERE.
The current green pass rules are set to remain in place until at least March 31st. Despite recent reports in Italian media speculating that the pass requirement may then be dropped from April, the government has not confirmed whether or not this is likely to happen.
Ministers are expected to make a decision on the future of the green pass system by mid-March.
People show their green passes outside a museum in Rome. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
While proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 is required for access to many venues and services in Italy, a vaccine mandate also applies to certain groups.
This includes people working in the healthcare and education sectors as well as law enforcement and emergency services.
Business closures and restrictions
Italy recently lifted restrictions on nightclubs and dance venues, meaning there are currently no business closures in force in the country.
However, access to everything but essential shops (such as supermarkets and grocery stores) and healthcare services is currently restricted to those who can show a health pass.
Parliament has approved a measure allowing food and drink to be consumed inside cinemas and theatres again from March 10th, Italian media reported on Thursday.
The government is also expected to allow sports stadiums to increase capacity to 75 percent by March 25th, and then to 100 percent by April.
Italy has been divided into four coloured ‘zones’ under a risk categorization system in place since November 2020.
But recent rule changes and Italy’s increasing reliance on the use of vaccine passes mean the zone system was deemed obsolete.
While this system still technically exists, no restrictions apply to those who are vaccinated – including in a high-risk ‘red’ zone.
The government is currently discussing whether to scrap the zone system altogether in the next few weeks.
Travel to and within Italy
Travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism, is currently allowed from all countries except those on Italy’s restricted ‘List E’. Arrivals from countries on this list must be able to show they have an urgent reason for travel, such as work, health or returning home.
Italy recently simplified the rules for arrivals from within the European Union and Schengen area: they now need to show proof of vaccination, recovery, or a recent negative Covid test to enter the country without a self-isolation requirement.
This simplifies previous rules, which required travellers entering Italy from within the EU and Schengen area to show both proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid and a recent negative test result.
Arrivals from outside the European Union (those on travel list ‘D’) must still show proof of vaccination and a negative test result when entering Italy.
Find all the details about the rules on travel to Italy from your country on the government’s ‘Viaggiare Sicuri’ (travel safe) website.
Within Italy, there are no restrictions on travel and movement between regions under current rules set by the national government, though local authorities can impose their own measures at any time.
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.