Covid-19: Italy to drop outdoor mask-wearing rule

Italy sets next Monday as date for dropping mask-wearing outside.

Mask-wearing outdoors in Italy will no longer be required in almost all of the country from 28 June, the health minister Roberto Speranza announced last night.

Speranza tweeted that the mask requirement for outdoors will be scrapped in the lowest-risk 'white zones' under Italy's colour-coded system of coronavirus restrictions.

Currently the entire country, with the exception of the small northwest Valle D'Aosta region, is classified as a white zone.

To be designated a white zone, a region must have recorded fewer than 50 covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three consecutive weeks. All of Italy is expected to become a white zone by 28 June.

Speranza’s announcement, based on advice from the government's technical scientific committee (CTS), said people should still follow the "precautionary directions" established by the CTS.

The wearing of masks will still be required in crowded gatherings and on public transport, and is "strongly recommended" in the company of frail, "at risk" people.

The CTS said that it reached yesterday's decision based on an improving covid-19 situation in Italy and the number of vaccines being administered (more than 53 per cent of the population has already had at least one dose and about 27 per cent are fully vaccinated).

Italy's current rules state that masks are mandatory "in indoor places other than private homes" and "in all outdoor places, except in cases where, due to the characteristics of the place or the circumstances, a distance between non-cohabiting people is guaranteed."

The news came the same day that Italy waved goodbye to the curfew which had been in effect from midnight until 05.00 every night in non-white zones.

Italy recorded 21 coronavirus-related deaths and 495 new cases nationwide on Monday, according to the latest covid-19 data released by the Italian health ministry.

For official information relating to the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry website. Photo credit: Gennaro Leonardi / Shutterstock.com.