Covid-19 in Italy: Heavy fines for not wearing masks outdoors

Italy prepares to issue new decree making masks obligatory at all times.

A new decree in Italy, expected on the morning of 7 October, is set to make the wearing of protective face masks outdoors obligatory at all times of the day, across the country, with heavy penalties for those who fail to comply.

People caught not wearing masks in public can expect to receive fines from €400 to €1,000, according to Italian news agency ANSA and other media outlets.

The order is expected to exempt children under the age of six as well as people with disabilities preventing them from wearing masks, and those engaged in physical exercise or sport.

The order to wear masks outdoors is already in place in several regions of Italy including Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Le Marche, Piemonte and Sicily.

The decree will contain measures aimed at combating Italy's rising number of covid-19 infections however the government has denied that there will be new restrictions forcing the early closure of bars, pubs and restaurants, as speculated in recent days.

The government is also expected to announce today an extension of the nation's existing state of emergency - which comes to an end next week - until 31 January 2021, exactly a year after it was first introduced.

Highlighting the fact that both the national and international covid-19 situation has changed in recent months, health minister Roberto Speranza said on 6 October: "Italy is holding up better in the second wave, but we must not be under any illusions."

Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte also warned yesterday that "the battle is not won" and that the country must remain on "maximum alert" in the coming weeks and months.

Photo Il Mattino