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Rome orders masks outdoors ahead of Italy's new covid rules

Masks outdoors in Rome shopping areas over Christmas as government debates nationwide measures.

Rome is the latest Italian city to bring in the obligation to wear masks outdoors in a bid to reduce the risk of covid infections among the crowds of people shopping during the Christmas season.

The news was announced on Wednesday night by Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri who described masks as "a fundamental tool for the prevention of infections" and urged all Romans to get vaccinated.

The measures will take effect from 10.00 on Saturday 4 December and will remain in force until midnight on Friday 31 December.

The mask mandate will apply in shopping zones in the city centre, where crowd control measures are in operation, including the streets around Via del Corso in the so-called Tridente district as well as around Via Cola di Rienzo near the Vatican.

Masks will also be obliged in other crowded outdoor locations in the city where social distancing is not possible, including shopping streets, Christmas markets and popular meeting places.

Children under the age of six, people with disabilities and those engaged in sporting activities are excluded from Rome's outdoor mask obligation.

"The main way to defeat the virus is of course vaccination" - said the mayor - "However, the presence of a still significant number of unvaccinated people and the circulation of the virus requires rigorous application of the new rules on the Super Green Pass introduced by the government, and the widespread use of the mask outdoors."

Turin mayor Stefano Lo Russo also signed a similar order yesterday, the latest in a string of Italian cities to introduce outdoor mask-wearing mandates as the government debates whether to bring in a nationwide obligation over the festive season.

The move comes ahead of the introduction of Italy's Super Green Pass rules which exclude the unvaccinated from a range of social, cultural and sporting activities, with effect from 6 December.

Photo credit: ValerioMei /

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