Italy starts to phase out covid restrictions

Italy's covid state of emergency ends on 31 March after more than two years.

The Italian government is preparing to phase out Italy's main covid restrictions, from masks to the Green Pass, after the state of emergency expires on 31 March.

The emergency legislation has granted authorities sweeping powers to tackle the pandemic and has been extended several times since it was introduced in January 2020.

Once the legislation expires the government will dismantle its structure of coronavirus advisors, including the technical scientific committee (CTS) and the emergency covid commissioner General Figliuolo, and will scrap the colour-coded covid risk system for Italian regions.

In its place will be a new health ministry unit, active until the end of this year, tasked with overseeing various measures including monitoring case numbers and completing Italy's covid vaccination campaign.

The lifting of restrictions will begin in phases from 1 April and will affect both versions of the Green Pass certificate - the "basic" version proving that the holder has been vaccinated against covid, recovered within the last six months or tested negative within the last couple of days - and the "Super" version which can only be obtained via vaccination or recovery from covid.

Green Pass

From 1 April neither version of the Green Pass will be required to consume food or drinks in outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, with the basic Green Pass needed to dine indoors, either seated at tables or standing at the bar, until 30 April.

The Green Pass will no longer be required to enter museums, post offices, banks, tobacconists or public offices from 1 April.

The Green Pass system will be effectively phased out as of 1 May.

Public transport

The Green Pass requirement on local and regional public transport (including subways and buses) will end as of 1 April however it will remain obligatory on board long-distance transport until 30 April.

FFP2 masks must be worn on all forms of public transport until 30 April.

Masks

The obligation to wear masks on public transport and indoor public places such as restaurants, theatres and gyms will remain in force until 30 April.

Earlier this year Italy lifted the requirement to wear masks outdoors.

Quarantine

As of 1 April there is no longer an obligation to quarantine after coming into contact with a covid-positive person, even for those who are not vaccinated.

A self-monitoring system will apply for 10 days, with people allowed to go out and go to work provided they wear an FFP2 mask.

Compulsory vaccination

From 1 April, unvaccinated people over the age of 50 can return to work, by presenting a negative covid test result every couple of days. 

The Green Pass obligation in the workplace for over-50s will expire on 15 June, along with the mandatory vaccination mandate for over-50s, teachers, soldiers, police and prison staff.

The compulsory vaccination order will remain in place only for healthcare workers and nursing home staff, until 31 December.

Super Green Pass

The Super Green Pass will continue to be required, until 30 April, to enter wellness centres, gaming rooms, discos, cinemas, theatres and indoor concerts.

It will also be needed to participate in indoor conventions and sporting events, as well as indoor parties celebrating civil or religious ceremonies, including baptisms, communions and weddings.

The Super Green Pass system will remain in force until 31 December for those visiting hospitals and nursing homes.

Schools

The 'contact' quarantine rules will also be scrapped in schools. From 1 April remote learning will only apply to students with covid-19, not their classmates.

If there are more than four infections in the classroom, lessons will continue in-person but everyone must wear FFP2 masks for 10 days. School tours can resume.

Unvaccinated teachers can return to school from 1 April, and receive their salary, however they are not permitted to teach.

Teachers are one of the categories of worker for which compulsory vaccination has been required since December.

Non-compliance with the compulsory vaccination order has resulted in the suspension of teachers without pay.

Stadiums

On 1 April the government will drop all crowd limits for venues such as sports stadiums, concerts and open-air night clubs, which can operate to 100 per cent capacity, with the basic Green Pass required.

Vaccinations

Almost 90 per cent of people in Italy aged 12 or older have completed the vaccination cycle, and around 38 million people have received their booster shots. A third of children aged 5 to 11 have also been fully vaccinated.


For official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry websitePhoto credit: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com.