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COVID-19 RULES

What are Italy’s new rules for Covid ‘yellow’ zones?

A total of seven Italian territories have been placed under ‘yellow’ zone restrictions, with more set to follow. As Italy imposes new nationwide restrictions for the unvaccinated, here’s how the rules have been updated for yellow zones.

Italy has updated its rules for  ‘yellow’ zone regions as the ‘super green pass’ requirement comes into force.
Italy has updated its rules for ‘yellow’ zone regions as the ‘super green pass’ requirement comes into force. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

The Italian regions of Liguria, Marche, Veneto and the autonomous province of Trento have been placed in Italy’s ‘yellow’ zone from Monday December 20th along with three other regions as they exceeded the government’s thresholds for hospital occupancy and coronavirus infection rates.

The rest of the country remains for now in the least-restricted ‘white’ zone, although a number of regions are expected to enter the more-restricted yellow zone in the coming days as their infection rates climb.

The government also recently introduced newnationwide Covid restrictions for the unvaccinated, which mean that from December 6th a ‘reinforced’ Covid health certificate or ‘super green pass’ is required to access many venues and services across the country, with the rules around exactly where the pass is required varying for different zones.

READ ALSO: ‘Super green pass’: Italy brings in new Covid restrictions on unvaccinated

Face masks are required in all public spaces, including outdoors, in Italy’s yellow zones.

The government hopes its new Covid restrictions will enable Christmas to go ahead as planned. Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

The ‘super green pass’ is available only to those who are vaccinated against or have recovered from the virus – as opposed to the basic green pass, which can be obtained by testing negative for Covid every two to three days (depending on the type of test taken).

While the ‘super green pass’ is now required to access a large range of venues, the basic green pass is still valid in some circumstances, including to access public transport and to enter the workplace.

The government hopes the new requirements will increase vaccine uptake and enable vaccinated people in yellow and more restricted orange zones to go with life as normal in the lead up to Christmas.

At the time of writing, Italy’s health ministry has removed its official guidance relating to yellow, orange and red zone restrictions from its website. The Local has based this explainer on the government’s updated ‘super green pass’ guidance, and on Italian media reports.

Here’s what we know so far about Italy’s updated restrictions for yellow zone territories. We will update this page when the health ministry releases further official guidelines.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Italy’s Covid green pass rules change on Monday

Face masks

Unlike in the ‘white’ zone, yellow zone rules require face masks to be worn everywhere in public – including outdoors.

Eating out

Indoor dining can be accessed only by holders of the ‘super green pass’; however, dining outdoors at restaurants and eating and drinking while standing at the bar does not require any kind of pass.

Up till now, yellow zone rules have limited table sizes at restaurants to a maximum of four diners per table (unless all those seated were cohabiting).

The health ministry has not yet issued official guidance as to whether this rule will be maintained in yellow zones; however the Italian news daily La Repubblica reports that the four-diner-per-table limit is likely to be abolished with the introduction of the super green pass.

Customers can continue to dine outdoors in yellow zones without showing any kind of health pass.

Customers can continue to dine outdoors in yellow zones without showing any kind of health pass. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

READ ALSO: Q&A: How will Italy’s new Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

Hotels

A basic green pass is now required to stay at hotels.

Indoor dining at the hotel requires a ‘super green pass’ in cases where the restaurant is open to anyone (not just guests). 

In situations where the hotel restaurant is restricted to guests only, a basic green pass is all that’s required for indoor dining.

No pass of any kind is required to dine outdoors at hotel restaurants.

Curfew

As of December, no curfew is in place in yellow zones; everyone can freely circulate throughout the territory at any time of day or night.

Travel

Travel within and between white and yellow zones is unrestricted and does not require any justification.

Transport

A basic green pass is required to access all local and long-distance public transport. This includes local buses, trams, and metro services, as well as domestic flights, ferry journeys, and interregional train and coach services.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in December in Italy

School buses carrying children under the age of 12, taxis, and private driver rentals for vehicles that have up to nine seats do not require any kind of pass; and you don’t need any kind of pass to travel in your own car.

Shops

Shops and shopping centres don’t require any kind of pass in the yellow zone.

Ski slopes, spas and thermal baths

A basic green pass is all that’s required in the yellow zone to gain access to these areas.

A woman has her green pass checked as ski resorts reopen in Bormio, Italian Alps, on December 4, 2021.

A woman has her green pass checked as ski resorts reopen in Bormio, Italian Alps, on December 4, 2021. Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

Gyms and pools

A basic green pass is required in yellow zones to access indoor gyms, pools, and other sports facilities, as well as changing rooms.

For open air facilities, no pass of any kind is currently required.

Theatres, cinemas, concerts, clubs and discos

A ‘super green pass’ is now required to access any of these in the yellow zone.

Sports events

A ‘super green pass’ is also required to attend sporting events and matches.

Museums, exhibits, cultural sites

A basic green pass will grant you access to any of these venues in the yellow zone.

Local authorities can decide to impose stricter rules at short notice. Always check the latest restrictions in your province or town: find out how here.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures please see the Italian Health Ministry’s website (available in English).

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COVID-19 RULES

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

The health ministry is reviewing its quarantine requirements as the country's Covid-19 health situation improved again this week, according to Italian media reports.

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

Italy has taken a more cautious approach to Covid in recent months than many of its European neighbours, keeping strict isolation rules in place for anyone who tests positive for the virus.

But this could be set to change in the coming days, according to media reports, as one of Italy’s deputy health ministers said the government is about to cut the isolation period for asymptomatic cases.

“Certainly in the next few days there will be a reduction in isolation for those who are positive but have no symptoms,” Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said in a TV interview on the political talk show Agorà on Tuesday.

“We have to manage to live with the virus,” he said.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported that the compulsory isolation period could be reduced to 48 hours for those who test positive but remain asymptomatic – provided they subsequently test negative after the day two mark.

Under Italy’s current rules, vaccinated people who test positive must stay in isolation for at least seven days, and unvaccinated people for ten days – regardless of whether or not they have any symptoms.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

At the end of the isolation period, the patient has to take another test to exit quarantine. Those who test negative are free to leave; those who remain positive must stay in isolation until they get a negative test result, up to a maximum of 21 days in total (at which point it doesn’t matter what the test result says).

Health ministry sources indicated the new rules would cut the maximum quarantine period to 15 or even 10 days for people who continue to test positive after the initial isolation period is up, La Stampa said.

The government is believed to be reviewing the rules as the latest official data showed Covid infection and hospitalisation rates were slowing again this week, as the current wave of contagions appeared to have peaked in mid-July.

However, the national Rt number (which shows the rate of transmission) remained above the epidemic threshold, and the number of fatalities continued to rise.

The proposed changes still aren’t lenient enough for some parties. Regional authorities have been pushing for an end to quarantine altogether, even for people who are actively positive – an idea Costa appears sympathetic to.

“The next step I think is to consider the idea of even eliminating the quarantine, perhaps by wearing a mask and therefore being able to go to work,” he told reporters.

“We must review the criteria for isolation, to avoid blocking the country again”.

At least one health expert, however, was unenthusiastic about the proposal.

Dr Nino Cartabellotta, head of Italy’s evidence-based medicine group Gimbe, tweeted on Tuesday: “There are currently no epidemiological or public health reasons to abolish the isolation of Covid-19 positives”

Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, was more ambivalent about the prospect.

The isolation requirement for asymptomatic cases should be “revised somewhat in the light of the epidemiological data”, he told reporters, but urged “a minimum of precaution, because the less the virus circulates and the fewer severe cases there are, the fewer new variants arise”.

When the question was last raised at the end of June, Health Minister Roberto Speranza was firmly against the idea of lifting quarantine requirements for people who were Covid positive.

“At the moment such a thing is not in question,” he told newspaper La Repubblica at the time. “Anyone who is infected must stay at home.”

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