What are the rules in Italy’s Covid-19 ‘orange zones’?

Italy's orange zones aren't in full lockdown, but the rules remain strict. Here's what you need to know if your region is one of them.

What are the rules in Italy's Covid-19 'orange zones'?
Serving takeaway coffee in Rome, which is due to become an 'orange' zone. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

All but three of Italy’s 20 regions are currently medium-high risk zone arancione (orange zones) under the latest update to the regional rules, effective from April 19th.

MAP: Which zone is your region in under Italy’s lockdown?

Here are the key things to know if your region is one of them.

How and when are the zones decided?

The Italian health ministry bases its decision on a weekly report from the country’s top health institute, which analyses the latest incidence rate, transmission numbers, hospital occupancy and other factors to assess the risk level in each region.

The data is announced every Friday afternoon, with rule changes taking effect from Monday morning. 

Once a region is declared an orange zone, it usually remains one for at least two weeks.

Exceptionally, all of Italy will become a red zone over the Easter weekend from April 3rd to 5th.

What are the rules in orange zones?

You can circulate freely within your municipality (town), but it is forbidden to move between municipalities except for essential reasons.

If you leave your municipality, you must complete a self-declaration form justifying your journey.

There is an exception for residents of small towns (5,000 inhabitants or fewer), who are allowed to travel freely to other municipalities within a 30km radius, so long as they avoid the provincial capital.

Schools remain open, with partial distance learning for older pupils, but local authorities can order schools to close and move learning online.

Checking pupils’ temperature at the school gates. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

Bars, cafes, restaurants, pastry shops and other food businesses are closed. Home delivery is still allowed, and takeaway is permitted until 10pm.

Museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres and concert halls are closed.

Gyms are closed and contact sports are forbidden. But you can continue to exercise outdoors, with social distancing. 

All shops can remain open, along with hairdressers and beauticians.

Religious services can continue to take place, with social distancing and other precautions.

Travel to a second home (including in a different town or region) is allowed only if you can prove you owned or rented the property before January 14th 2021, and if no one else lives there. This means new short-term rentals are not permitted, and you can’t stay with relatives.

You can visit family and friends who live in the same town once a day, between the hours of 5am to 10pm. No more than two adults, plus children under 14, should go at once.

Visiting the homes of family and friends outside your municipality is not allowed.

Are there any other rules to know about?

Yes: a 10pm-5am curfew remains in place nationwide, and all non-essential travel between regions is banned.

Face masks are compulsory in all public spaces, both indoors and outdoors. 

Individual regions, provinces or municipalities may also set their own restrictions on top of the standard rules. Check your regione or comune‘s official website for the latest updates in your area: find where to look here.

Please note The Local is not able to advise on specific situations. For more information on the restrictions please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.