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CHRISTMAS

CALENDAR: What are Italy’s new Covid-19 rules over Christmas and New Year?

Italy is adding extra restrictions over Christmas and New Year, sending the country in and out of lockdown. Here's when the rules change.

CALENDAR: What are Italy's new Covid-19 rules over Christmas and New Year?
Christmas lights in central Rome. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Until December 20th:

Current restrictions remain in place, with a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am and all museums, cinemas, theatres, galleries and other venues closed.

Shops remain open, though shopping centres must close on weekends.

Bars and restaurants are only allowed to serve customers until 6pm, and in higher risk 'orange' zones, they cannot serve on the premises at all. 

Orange zones – currently only the region of Abruzzo – also face restrictions on travel, with movement between towns or outside the region only permitted in emergencies.

Travel within or between yellow zones, for any reason, is still allowed.

Find more information about the rules in each zone here.

Restrictions on international travel continue to apply, with people arriving from most countries outside the EU or Schengen zone only permitted to enter Italy for work, health, study or other essentials, and subject to a 14-day quarantine. 

Travellers from within the EU may enter Italy without justifying their reasons, but must test negative for Covid-19 no more than 48 hours before they begin their journey – or face two weeks of quarantine on arrival.

December 21st to 23rd: Regional travel ban and quarantine for international travellers

All the previous restrictions remain in place, plus there's a ban on non-essential travel between regions – any and all of them, regardless of which colour zone they are.

The rules also get tighter for travellers arriving from the EU, who now have to observe a 14-day quarantine if they enter Italy on or after December 21st.

Bars, restaurants and shops can remain open in yellow zones within the usual rules, though in orange zone Abruzzo they remain closed.

December 24th to 27th: Red zone

Italy goes into temporary lockdown, with maximum red zone restrictions applied across the whole country.

People must not circulate within their own towns, between towns, or between regions without a valid, urgent reason, though individual outdoor exercise is allowed near your home.

There is one key exception: you are allowed to travel within the same region, no more than once a day and with no more than one other person, to visit friends or family at home. Children under 14 or others in need of care are also allowed to come. 

Bars and restaurants are closed, as are all shops except food stores, pharmacies, news agents, launderettes and hairdressers. Curfew remains from 10pm to 5am.

Everyone arriving from overseas must continue to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

December 28th to 30th: Orange zone

The whole of Italy becomes an orange zone: only essential travel is allowed between regions, but you can circulate freely within your own town.

People in small towns (5,000 inhabitants or fewer) can travel within a radius of 30 kilometres in order to reach neighbouring comuni, but they must not go to the provincial capital, even if it's nearby, to avoid crowding larger towns.

Bars and restaurants are closed to customers, though they can makes deliveries or serve take-out until 10pm. Shops are allowed to remain open until 9pm.

Curfew begins, as usual, at 10pm and lasts until 5am.

Everyone arriving from overseas must continue to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

December 31st to January 3rd: Red zone

Italy returns to lockdown, with the same red zone rules as between December 24-27th. 

People must not circulate within their own towns, between towns, or between regions without a valid, urgent reason.

Individual outdoor exercise is allowed near your home and you are allowed to travel within the same region, no more than once a day and with no more than one other person, to visit friends or family at home. Children under 14 or others in need of care are also allowed to come. 

Bars and restaurants are closed, as are all shops except food stores, pharmacies, news agents, laundrettes and hairdressers.

Curfew remains from 10pm to 5am, with the exception of New Year's when it extends from 10pm until 7am on January 1st.

Everyone arriving from overseas must continue to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

January 4th: Orange zone

Back to orange zone rules again for one day: only essential travel is allowed between regions, but you can circulate freely within your own town.

People in small towns (5,000 inhabitants or fewer) can travel within a radius of 30 kilometres in order to reach neighbouring comuni, but they must not go to the provincial capital.

Bars and restaurants are closed to customers, though they can makes deliveries or serve take-out until 10pm. Shops are allowed to remain open until 9pm. 

Curfew begins at 10pm and lasts until 5am.

Everyone arriving from overseas must continue to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

January 5th to 6th: Red zone

Italy becomes a nationwide red zone again: people must not circulate within their own towns, between towns, or between regions without a valid, urgent reason, though individual outdoor exercise is allowed and you can make one trip within the region per day to visit friends or family at home.

Bars and restaurants are closed, as are all businesses except food stores, pharmacies, news agents, laundrettes and hairdressers.

Curfew remains from 10pm to 5am.

Everyone arriving from overseas must continue to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

From January 7th:

Travel between regions is once more allowed, unless any of them are designated local orange or red zones.

Unless the government announces otherwise, schools are due to reopen for in-person teaching. Ski slopes are also scheduled to open.

Curfew remains from 10pm to 5pm nationwide and all museums, cinemas, theatres, galleries and other venues are closed.

Shops remain open in yellow zones, though shopping centres must close on weekend, while bars and restaurants are only allowed to serve customers until 6pm.

International travellers who spent any part of the period from December 21st to January 6th outside Italy must continue to quarantine for 14 days after their arrival in Italy, even if they're entering after the period itself. Find more information here.

People who leave and return to Italy after this time – i.e., people who spent the entire period between December 21st and January 6th in Italy and are only travelling from January 7th onwards – can show a negative Covid-19 test from the past 48 hours to avoid quarantining on arrival.

Please be aware that different regions of Italy may have additional local restrictions. Check the latest rules in places where you are: find out how to do that here.

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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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