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BREAKING NEWS: Schools, Restaurants, Gyms, Travel: Here’s Italy’s New Timetable For Reopening

When will gyms reopen, and can we travel to or within Italy? Here are the key dates in Italy’s roadmap for easing the coronavirus restrictions.

Italy’s government on Wednesday evening approved the country’s latest set of coronavirus regulations under an updated emergency decree. Many of Italy’s current restrictions will be gradually relaxed from April 26th, as Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had already confirmed at a press conference on Friday. There won’t be a complete return to normal life just yet, but the easing of some restrictions will come as a relief to residents who have effectively been under a form of lockdown since mid-March. Schools and “open-air business activities” are the first priorities for reopening, Draghi said. While the text of the decree has not yet been published, a statement on the government’s website gave further details of what is to reopen and when:

From April 26th: Schools, outdoor dining, travel between ‘yellow’ zones

Many of Italy’s current restrictions will be relaxed from April 26th in lower-risk areas only. The lower-risk ‘yellow’ zone classifications will return from this date, alongside the orange and red zones currently covering the whole country. All schools and universities will be able to resume in-person teaching in yellow and orange zones.  Restaurants will be allowed to reopen in yellow zones for both lunch and dinner – with outdoor seating only.

Cinemas and theatre shows will be allowed outdoors. Indoor showings can also go ahead, but will have their capacity limited to 50 percent. Masks and distancing will be required. Outdoor sports will also be allowed from this date. Travel will also be allowed once again between lower risk yellow zone regions, and the current rule against visiting private homes will be relaxed. “From April 26th to June 15th 2021, in the yellow zone, four people are allowed to travel to a single inhabited private house once a day during curfew hours, the government stated. This number does not include children and is “in addition to those already living in the house”. Travel to and from higher-risk regions will be possible using a new travel pass, the government announced.

May 15th: Malls and outdoor swimming pools reopen

Shopping malls, which currently are allowed to open on weekdays only, will be open on weekends again. Lidos, beach clubs and and outdoor pools are also to reopen in mid-May, with some safety restrictions still in place, including limits on the number of customers allowed.

June 1st: Gyms reopen, indoor restaurant service resumes

Gyms and other indoor fitness facilities and will have to wait until June for reopening, the health minister confirmed. Sports facilities will have to follow safety guidelines, including limiting the number of people allowed to exercise at once, requiring face masks in communal areas and asking users to book training in advance.  Bars and restaurants can also serve patrons indoors from this date – but only from 5am to 6pm, so dinner service will only be allowed outdoors. Stadiums meanwhile will reopen to the public at 25 percent capacity. The number of spectators, however, cannot exceed 1,000 in open-air venues and 500 in indoor venues.

July 1st: Conferences and trade fairs restart

Large trade fairs open to the public can go ahead from July, the health minister stated – good news for those planning to attend postponed major events like the Vinitaly wine fair. Conference venues, theme parks and spas can also resume operations.

What doesn’t change:

The nationwide 10pm curfew remains in place, despite calls for it to be moved to 11pm to accommodate dining in restaurants in yellow zones. The government said the rule may be re-evaluated in May. Many restrictions are expected to remain in areas designated higher-risk red and orange zones, and rules will still depend on local health data.

What about travel?

The government did not announce any plans to relax the current restrictions on travel to Italy under the latest decree. The tourism minister last week suggested June 2nd as a possible date for restarting non-essential travel, however this has not been confirmed. Testing and quarantine are currently required for almost all arrivals, and these requirements are expected to stay in place for many travellers as Italy’s vaccine rollout remains slower than in countries such as the UK and US.



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