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COVID-19 RULES

TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

As Italy's vaccination rate rises and its health situation continues to improve, the country has started putting in place a roadmap for lifting its Covid-19 restrictions.

A man and a woman walk in a street of Ventimiglia on August 05, 2020.
Italy is preparing a roadmap for easing its coronavirus restrictions. Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP

As many countries across Europe have recently announced the end of many Covid-19 health measures, from mask mandates to vaccine passes, Italy’s government has also begun preparing a timeline for easing its own restrictions.

After weeks of speculation and uncertainty, Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Tuesday confirmed the end of the state of emergency and the lifting of certain rules from March 31st.

Separately, the Italian government also announced this week that restrictions on travel from non-EU countries will also be eased.

Here are the key dates to be aware of for changes to the rules both within Italy and when crossing the border:

March 1st

From March 1st, Italy will allow all fully-vaccinated or recently-recovered travellers from non-EU countries to enter the country without the additional need for a negative Covid test, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced on Tuesday.

Any of a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or a negative test result will allow extra-EU arrivals entry into Italy without any quarantine requirement – so unvaccinated travellers and those not recovered from Covid-19 will be able to enter the country with just proof of a negative test.

This follows Italy’s introduction of the same rule for EU arrivals on February 1st.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s travel rules change in March

Outdoor dining in Italian restaurants currently requires proof of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP

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

You also still need to complete a digital passenger locator form (dPLF) – find the instructions and download link here.

See further details of the upcoming changes to the travel restrictions here.

March 10th

From March 10th, it will reportedly once again be possible to consume food and drink in cinemas, theatres, concert halls and sports stadiums in Italy, following a unanimous vote by the Italian parliament’s Social Affairs Commission on February 17th.

Consumption of food and drink in these venues had been banned and their bars and food counters closed since Christmas, when the rapid spread of the Omicron variant prompted the government to issue a series of emergency decrees tightening Italy’s health restrictions.

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

March 10th is also the date from which people will be allowed to visit their family members in hospital throughout Italy for 45 minutes per day, including in intensive care units, multiple Italian news outlets have reported.

Those who are fully vaccinated and boosted will be able to access health facilities to visit their relatives without any further requirements, while people who haven’t received a booster shot will need a negative test to enter.

March 31st

This is the date when Italy’s current state of emergency or stato di emergenza is next set to expire – and this time, it’s for good.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday that Italy’s emergency status would not be extended beyond this date.

“The epidemiological situation is greatly improving thanks to the success of the vaccine campaign, and this gives us room to remove the remaining restrictions on people and companies,” Draghi told a business conference in Florence on Wednesday.

Italy’s state of emergency, first declared on January 31st, 2020 as the first cases of coronavirus were detected in Rome, is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

By March 31st, 2022, following a series of extensions, Italy’s state of emergency will have been in place for 26 months – two months longer than the maximum period theoretically allowed under Italian law.

Removing the state of emergency doesn’t automatically mean that all current restrictions will be immediately dropped; however Draghi did announce on Wednesday the government’s intention to gradually remove the obligation to show proof of vaccination or recovery at many venues, without providing any specific dates.

April 1st

From April 1st, Draghi confirmed at Wednesday’s conference, Italy’s four-tiered colour coded system of Covid restrictions will be abolished altogether.

The outdoor mask mandate, school contact quarantine rules and the requirement to wear high-grade FFP2 masks in classrooms will also be lifted in April, he said, without giving specific dates.

Italian news outlets including Corriere della Sera suggest that April 1st is the date on which the requirement to show a ‘super green pass‘ – proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 – while dining outdoors at cafes and restaurants and to access outdoor sports facilities and swimming pools could be removed.

Currently, proof of recovery or vaccination from Covid (via an Italian ‘super green pass’ for residents of Italy or foreign-issued certificates for tourists) is required to dine both indoors and outdoors at bars and restaurants, as well as to access all public transport, hotels, cinemas, sports centres, and most other services and leisure venues in Italy.

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

As things stand, this date appears to be purely speculative; the government has not yet provided any firm timeline for the lifting of green pass restrictions.

Draghi on Tuesday said only that the government would “gradually put an end to the super green pass requirement, starting with open air activities including fairs, sport, celebrations, and shows.”

June 15th

This is the date by which Italy’s vaccine mandate for over-50s is currently due to expire.

Anyone in Italy aged 50 and up, and anyone due to turn 50 by June 15th, is currently required to get vaccinated, with those who refuse facing a one-time €100 fine to be taken automatically by Italy’s Revenue Collections Agency (L’Agenzia delle entrate). 

As of February 15th, over-50s who work must also produce a ‘super green pass’ showing proof of having been vaccinated within the past six months or having received a booster dose in order to enter their workplace – those caught without one face fines of up to €1,500.

As things stand, this requirement is due to be lifted on June 15th; however it’s very possible that the mandate will be extended closer to the time.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 rules please see the Italian health ministry website (available in English).

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TRAVEL NEWS

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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