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Italy's new roadmap for easing covid restrictions

Key dates in Italy's "return to normality" timeline.

The Italian government is to dismantle its covid restrictions step by step, from March onwards, in what is described as a gradual "return to normality" amid an improving coronavirus situation in Italy.

"Our aim is to reopen everything, as soon as possible", Italian premier Mario Draghi pledged last night, announcing that the country's state of emergency would not be extended once it expires on 31 March.

This paves the way for the phasing out of the restrictions that Italy has lived under for the last two years, and follows the recent lifting of the outdoor mask mandate (apart from crowded areas).

Draghi also said the government would gradually phase out the "Super" Green Pass system, beginning with outdoor activities including fairs, sports, parties and shows, without providing any dates.

There are some major changes scheduled before the state of emergency finally comes to an end, with more covid rules expected to be revised along the way.

Here are the key dates we know so far in Italy's timeline for relaxing covid restrictions.

1 March. Travel to Italy. Tourists from outside the European Union can enter the country quarantine-free provided they meet one of the conditions of the Green Pass: vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or negative test. Under the new travel rules, visitors from non-EU nations will no longer be required to show both proof of vaccination or recovery from covid and a negative test result. A pre-departure covid test will remain necessary for unvaccinated tourists and for those who have received vaccines not recognised by the European Medicines Agency.

1 March. Italy will increase the capacity of sports stadiums, with the new maximum attendance outdoors rising to 75 per cent (currently 50 per cent) and 60 per cent in indoor stadiums (currently 35 per cent).

10 March. It will once more be possible to consume food and drinks in Italy's theatres, cinemas, stadiums and live music venues, "in other similar venues and in all places where sporting events and competitions take place."

10 March. Visits to family members in hospital will be allowed to resume, for a maximum of 45 minutes per visit.

31 March. This is the last day of the state of emergency which has granted authorities sweeping powers to tackle the pandemic, and has been extended several times since it was introduced on 31 January 2020.

1 April. Italy's first "post emergency" day. The colour-coded system of covid restrictions for regions will be scrapped and it will no longer be required to wear masks anywhere outdoors.

The school quarantine system will be lifted as well as the obligation to wear FFP2 masks in class, with Draghi promising: "Schools will always remain open for everyone."

15 June. The obligation of the Super Green Pass in the workplace for over-50s will expire, along with the compulsory vaccination mandate for those over 50 years of age.

For official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy (in English) see the health ministry website.

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