Denmark to scrap face masks from Monday

Denmark's government has struck a deal with all but one of the parties in parliament to on Monday end the requirement to wear a face mask in all areas apart from on public transport.

Denmark to scrap face masks from Monday
Denmark's health minister Magnus Heunicke announced the deal early on Thursday morning. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Under the agreement, struck after 3am following marathon all-night negotiations, the requirement to wear a face mask will be scrapped completely from October 1st.

The coronavirus health pass or coronapas will also begin to be phased out from Monday, when those visiting public libraries and participating in activities run by clubs and voluntary organisations will no longer be required to show one.

From August 1st, a valid coronapas will no longer be needed in theaters, concert venues, indoor sports activities, and a wide range of other venues, from September 1st, you will no longer need to show one in restaurants, the hairdresser or the gym, and on October 1st the pass will be phased out completely. 

The parties also agreed to extend opening hours of bars and restaurants from this Friday from 11pm to midnight, with closing time further pushed out to 2am on July 15th. 

The agreement also extends how long a negative PCR test provides a valid coronapas to 96 hours. 

“It is a marked opening of Danish society,” Magnus Heunicke, Denmark’s health minister said early on Thursday morning. 

“The infection is on the way down, 2.5 million people have received at least one vaccination dose, and the good weather is working in our favour,” he added in a press release

The government reached agreement with the Liberal Party, the Danish People’s Party, the Socialist People’s Party, the Social Liberal Party, the Red Green Alliance, the Conservatives, the Liberal Alliance and the Alternative. Only the populist New Right Party stood outside the deal. 

“This means that you can now go down and buy a litre of milk without having a face mask on,” Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the Danish People’s Party, said at the press conference. 

Here are the significant dates in the reopening agreement: 

June 11th: Opening hours of bars and restaurants extended to midnight 

June 12th: Number of spectators allowed at Parken football stadium increased from 15,900 to 25,000 

June 14th: Face masks no longer required apart from when standing on public transport 

June 14th: Coronapas no longer required in public libraries, and activities around voluntary organisations or clubs

June 14th: Kindergartens, primary schools, after school clubs, youth and adult education expected to return to normal timetable

July 1st:  Restaurants where customers “essentially sit down” no longer need to meet area requirements or follow distance recommendations 

July 15th: Opening hours of bars and restaurants extended to 2am

September 1st: Nightclubs and discos can reopen for those with valid coronapas 

October 1st: Coronapas no longer required anywhere 

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EXPLAINED: Has Italy still got any Covid rules in place?

Italy is blissfully free of Covid restrictions this summer - or is it? Here's what you need to know about the country's few remaining rules.

EXPLAINED: Has Italy still got any Covid rules in place?

If you thought Italy’s Covid rules ought to have more or less expired by now, you’d be right – almost. 

There are essentially no travel restrictions, no vaccination or testing obligations, and very few situations in which people are required to mask up.

However, a few nationwide health rules do remain in place that are worth knowing about.

Here’s what they are.


One notable exception to Italy’s Covid rule relaxations is the continued requirement to wear a mask in parts of health and residential care facilities that house vulnerable or immunosuppressed patients.

This rule had been due to expire on April 30th, but was renewed by decree on April 29th and will remain in place until the end of the year.

READ ALSO: What to expect when travelling to Italy in summer 2023

That means if you work in such a facility or need to visit a friend or family member there, you should come equipped with a mask.

Under-6’s, people whose disability prevents them from wearing a mask, and carers for whom wearing a mask would prevent them from communicating with a disabled patient are the only exceptions.


Then there are the quarantine rules.

‘Italy still has quarantine rules?!’ you ask incredulously.

According to former health director Giovanni Rezza, who retired this May, the answer is yes.

It was Rezza who signed off on a health ministry decree dated December 31st, 2022 that established the country’s latest quarantine restrictions.

Tourists visiting Italy no longer face Covid-related restrictions, though rules may apply in some circumstances. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

That decree says that those who test positive but are asymptomatic must self-isolate for five days, or until they test negative at a pharmacy or health facility – whichever happens sooner.

Those who do experience symptoms should either test negative before exiting quarantine, or wait until they are symptomless for at least two days.

At the end of the isolation period, those who have left quarantine without taking a test are required to wear a high-grade FFP2 mask in public until the tenth day since the onset of symptoms or first positive test result.

READ ALSO: What are the upcoming strikes in Italy and how could they impact you?

People who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid should wear an FFP2 mask in public until the fifth day since the last point of contact.

Earlier this month, Rezza told journalists at the national broadcaster Rai that since no expiration date was stipulated, the decree remains in force indefinitely.

The health ministry doesn’t appear to have weighed in on the matter, so for now it should be assumed that the quarantine rules are still active.

Of course, this all relies on the honour system, as most Covid tests these days are taken (if at all) in people’s own homes without the knowledge or involvement of state health authorities.


Finally, there have been some recent reports of new international travel restrictions specifically relating to China.

There has been talk of Italy’s airports reintroducing tests for arrivals from China. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.

Towards the end of May, newspapers La Stampa and La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reported that Covid tests had been reintroduced at Italy’s airports for arrivals from China, which has seen an uptick in cases.

However, neither the health ministry website nor the Foreign Ministry’s Viaggiare Sicuri (‘Travel Safe’) website appear to have published any updates to this effect.

In December 2022, Italy’s health ministry mandated that all arrivals from China must produce a recent negative test result before leaving for Italy and to take a test on arrival, though this rule was due to expire at the end of January.