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COVID-19 RULES

At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

As many of Italy's health measures remain in place - with some recent changes - here's a reminder of exactly what the rules are right now.

Italian police officer on patrol in Rome.
People wearing face masks walk at the Capitoline Hill in Rome. The Italian government eased the requirement to wear masks outdoors after a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, but the rule still applies in some settings. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

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.

While some European countries, such as Denmark and Switzerland, have recently announced the abolition of most health measures, the Italian government has taken a more cautious line.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in early February that a “timeline” for easing measures would soon be announced, though as yet few changes have been confirmed.

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:

Masks

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.

READ ALSO: When will Italy lift its Covid-19 mask mandate?

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.

Green passes

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.

READ ALSO: How long will Italy keep its Covid green pass system in place?

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

Vaccination requirement

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.

Italy has also made jabs mandatory for all over-50s who are resident in the country, with those who refuse to get vaccinated to face fines of 100 euros.

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.

Risk zones

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.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s international travel rules changed in February

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.

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UPDATE: What are the Covid travel rules between Italy and the UK?

With the rules on travel between Italy and the UK set to change again, here's what you need to know about the latest restrictions.

The travel rules between Italy and the UK have changed again.
The travel rules between Italy and the UK have changed again. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

The rules on travel between Italy and the UK have changed multiple times over the past few months in response to the evolving Covid-19 health situation.

Another change is incoming from March 1st, as Italy plans to drop the testing requirement for vaccinated or recovered travellers from non-EU countries, which includes the UK.

Here’s the latest summary of the what you need to know when travelling in either direction.

Travelling from the UK to Italy

From March 1st, Italy will relax the rules for arrivals from outside the EU, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Italy to ease Covid travel rules for non-EU arrivals on March 1st

According to a new ordinance on Italy’s Covid travel restrictions, travellers entering Italy from non-EU countries like the UK will no longer need to show both proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid and a negative test result.

Either a vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or negative test result is accepted for travel into Italy when the new rules come into force.

The change brings the UK, and other non-EU countries, in line with travellers coming from Europe, since Italy introduced the same rule for EU arrivals on February 1st.

So, if you’re vaccinated or recovered, you won’t need to get tested as well for travel to Italy – though this is still currently the rule until Monday, February 28th.

It also means unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter Italy from the UK with just proof of a negative test.

Passengers can present certificates of recovery, vaccination or testing in digital or paper format.

Digital or paper copies are accepted for travel into Italy. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

What counts as vaccinated for entry purposes isn’t clear, as neither Tuesday’s ordinance nor the previous set of rules for EU arrivals specified how many shots of a Covid-19 vaccine travellers must have had and within what timeframe, or whether the vaccine must be approved by the Italian or European medicines agencies.

If you want to be sure that your vaccination certificate will be recognised, you should contact your airline for advice before travelling.

The digital passenger locator form (dPLF) requirement is still in place under the latest rule changes – find the instructions and download link here.

You have to complete this form regardless of the means of transport you enter Italy by, before entering the country. It can also be completed and shown in either paper or digital format.

Airlines will continue to check documentation and enforce these rules. The new Italian ordinance specifies that carriers must check the dPLF and that travellers have one of the required entry certifications before boarding.

You’ll also be denied boarding if you show any Covid-19 symptoms.

Once in Italy, there is no quarantine requirement. The only case where this would apply is if you failed to provide the required paperwork, in which case you’d be obliged to undergo a five-day quarantine at the address you listed on the digital Passenger Locator Form. This would then be followed by a molecular or antigenic swab at the end of the isolation period.

Travel within Italy

While these will be the rules for entering Italy from March 1st, UK travellers need to be aware of a different, tougher set of restrictions once in Italy.

Italy has extended the use of its domestic ‘green pass’ proving vaccination, testing or recovery to cover almost all aspects of life in the country.

Although you will be to enter Italy with just a negative test, once you’re here you’ll need to be either vaccinated or recovered to access everything from hotels and restaurants to public transport under rules in force until at least March 31st.

A visitor shows her Covid-19 certificates for scanning before entering a museum. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Obtaining a negative test result alone only will provide you with the so-called ‘basic green pass’ (green pass base). But this is restricted to much fewer services such as shops, public offices and hairdressers, for example.

If you’re travelling to Italy for tourism and all that entails, like staying in hotels, eating out and visiting museums, it’s not enough.

Boarding a train or domestic flight in Italy is not currently allowed without proof of vaccination or recovery either.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Following a decree announced by Italy’s health minister on February 2nd, foreign visitors, including those from the UK, who are boosted against Covid-19 with a vaccine recognised by Italy can access all venues and services in the country on an indefinite basis.

Those who have completed their primary vaccine cycle more than six months ago but have not received a booster shot can still access all services and venues (such as hotels, restaurants and public transport) by taking a rapid antigen or PCR test from a certified provider (e.g. a pharmacy).

A negative rapid test result will produce a pass that is valid for 48 hours; a negative PCR test result will produce a pass that is valid for 72 hours.

Within Italy, there are currently 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.

If a region or province is declared a high risk ‘red’ zone, travel restrictions are in force for the unvaccinated; for those who are vaccinated, no restrictions are imposed.

READ ALSO:

Italy has a number of other measures in place which travellers should be aware of, including the requirement to wear masks indoors – the requirement to wear masks outdoors has now been dropped. More protective FFP2 masks are mandatory in some places including cinemas and on public transport.

Find more information on how Italy’s vaccine pass rules apply to visitors and check the validity of different vaccine certificates here.

What are the rules for travel from Italy to the UK?

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland often have different entry rules – make sure to check the latest official guidance for the specific UK destination you’re travelling to.

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all updated their restrictions on February 11th.

READ ALSO: UK ends Covid test requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers

You no longer need to take a Covid-19 test prior to arrival into the UK if you’re fully vaccinated, while this is still a requirement for those unvaccinated a maximum of two days before travel.

It is also now the case that fully-vaccinated passengers travelling to these countries are no longer required to take a Day 2 test; while non-fully-vaccinated arrivals are not required to self-isolate and do not have to take the Day 8 PCR test.

Passengers who are vaccinated can now upload proof of their vaccination status instead of a Day 2 test booking reference. The UK does not require a booster shot in order to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’. 

Under 18s do not require any tests.

The existing rules remain in place around the Passenger Locator Form, which must be completed in the 48 hour window before arrival.

You can find the Passenger Locator Form HERE. However, make sure you complete the document in plenty of time, as travellers have reported technical glitches with the form in recent weeks.

For more information on the requirements for travel to Italy:

You can also call the Italian coronavirus information line:

  • From Italy: 1500 (freephone number)
  • From abroad: +39 0232008345 , +39 0283905385

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 news updates via our homepage or travel news section.

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