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Italy - zone update and current restrictions

Published: 01/02/2021 By The Abode Team

Italy has relaxed the coronavirus restrictions in most regions from February 1st. Here's a reminder of what that means for you.

All but five of Italy's regions will be "yellow" from Monday February 1st, under the national colour-coded system of yellow, orange and red that indicates coronavirus risk and the restrictions in place. Based on the latest regional contagion data reported by the Health Ministry and Higher Health Institute, authorities announced on Friday that risk levels would be lowered in most parts of the country.

Regions are now classified as follows:

Red zones: No regions are classed as red zones
Orange zones: Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Umbria, the autonomous province of Bolzano
Yellow zones: All other regions: Abruzzo, Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardy, Liguria, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, automnomous province of Trento, Tuscany, Valle d'Aosta, Veneto.

What are the 'yellow zone' rules?

We may think we know the rules by now, as this system has been in place since November 6th.  However, the government has made several changes since then. As regions turn yellow, this allows the daytime reopening of bars and restaurants, and greater freedom to travel within the region. While this will no doubt be a relief to people living in these areas, the health ministry stressed that the downgrade does not mean a total relaxation of the rules. "Being in a yellow zone does not mean the danger has passed," Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Sunday. "We still need the utmost caution if we do not want to go back on the progress made in recent weeks". This was stated by the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, entering the Ministry this morning.

Here's what you can do:

In yellow zones, bars and restaurants can stay open until 6pm, including on Sundays. Takeaway service is allowed until 10pm for restaurants and until 6pm for bars, while there are no time limits for home delivery.

Museums reopen, but only on weekdays, therefore from Monday to Friday;

Senior schools can return to in-person teaching for up to 50 percent of class. For middle and elementary schools, face-to-face teaching continues, with masks required for children over six years old.

You can visit friends or relatives, but the following rules apply: You can travel to another private home in your region or autonomous province once a day between the hours of 5am-10pm. No more than two adult visitors are allowed, though children under 14 (from the same family) do not count.

Travel to second homes located outside the region is permitted regardless of the colour of the region of origin and the region of arrival. You will need documents proving ownership or residency and a completed self-certification form.

Travel to return home or to a place of residence is always allowed, regardless of zone.

Barbers and hairdressers are open in all zones.

Outdoor 'motor activity' exercise is allowed (e.g. jogging and walking) in all zones.

Here's which rules stay in place:

The evening curfew remains in place from 10pm-5am across the whole country. If you need to go out during those hours, you'll need to take a completed self-certification form.
A ban on non-essential travel between regions remains in place, regardless of zone colour.
Cinemas, theatres, betting halls, game rooms, discos, ballrooms, concert halls, gyms, swimming pools, theme parks, spas and wellness centres all remain closed.
Shops are open, but shopping centres are closed on weekends.
Ski resorts stay closed until at least February 15th, subject to authorisation by the regional authorities.

Of course masks and social distancing still apply whatever colout your zone is.

Please be aware that different regions of Italy may have additional local restrictions.

Italy has registered almost 88,000 coronavirus-related deaths since the disease first came to light last February - the second highest toll in Europe after Britain and the sixth highest in the world. After squashing the first wave last summer, Italy initially struggled to contain a second wave of contagions. However, daily cases have fallen some 36% from their peak in November, according to Reuters data, while deaths have held steady in a range of 400-500 a day.

The health ministry says the closely watched virus reproduction rate, dubbed ‘r’, has fallen beneath 1 across most of the country. However, some experts say this is not the time to relax the rules, given cases of the more transmissible variant first detected in Britain have been found in the country.

“This opening and closing of regions is a slow torture ... we need a real lockdown or else we will find ourselves in the dramatic position that Spain and Portugal are now experiencing,” Walter Ricciardi, a health ministry adviser, said this week. The technical committee advising the health ministry, while acknowledging there had been an improvement in the risk level, said on Friday: “The epidemic remains in a delicate phase and a new rapid increase in the number of cases is possible in the coming weeks.”

Let's see what happens next.