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COVID-19 RULES

Where in Italy do you still need to wear a face mask?

Italy's rules on wearing masks were eased at the start of May - but not completely removed. Here's what you need to know.

Which indoor public spaces in Italy will continue to require a mask from May 1st?
Which indoor public spaces in Italy will continue to require a mask from May 1st? Photo: THOMAS COEX / AFP

Mask-wearing was required by law in all indoor public spaces in Italy until the end of April, with higher-grade FFP2 masks required in certain spaces and lower-grade surgical masks accepted in others.

As of May 1st, the rules became a little more complicated, as Italy’s mask mandate was dropped for some venues while remaining in place for others.

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

So where do you still need to wear a mask in Italy now- and what type of mask do you need for which venue?

Here’s a reminder of the rules in place until June 15th:

Public transport

The requirement to wear a high-grade Ffp2 mask remains in place for all local and long-distance public transport in Italy. 

That includes planes, ships, trains, buses and coaches, local public transport networks, and school buses carrying primary and secondary aged schoolchildren, the health ministry’s latest ordinance specifies.

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls

Anyone attending a performance in these environments must also continue to wear an FFP2 mask. The requirement isn’t restricted to large spaces: any indoor entertainment space and any venue playing live music requires the FFP2 mask until June 15th.

Indoor sports events or competitions

FFP2 masks are required for all indoor sporting events and competitions, according to the health ministry’s current guidance.

As was previously the case, those participating in the events themselves don’t need to wear a mask while actively engaged in physical activity.

Health and social care facilities

All health and social care environments such as hospitals and residential homes require face masks to be worn by anyone accessing the facilities, including workers, users and visitors.

However, the ordinance does not specify that an FFP2 mask is required for these settings, merely saying that ‘respiratory protection devices’ (such as surgical masks) should be used.

Schools

Schools are one of the few environments for which Italy’s government had already decided masks should remain in place until the end of the academic year.

That remains the case with the new rules, so until the summer holidays, those in schools will need to continue masking up – though it doesn’t have to be a high-grade FFP2 mask unless specific Covid contact rules are triggered.

Italy will continue to require masks in classrooms until the end of the school year.
Italy will continue to require masks in classrooms until the end of the academic year. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.

Places that no longer require a mask

Shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, museums and other cultural sites no longer require a mask from May 1st, according to the health ministry’s ordinance.

Workplaces also no longer require masks to be worn at all times; however the Minister for Public Administration issued a circular recommending (not requiring) the continued use of masks by public sector workers when in contact with members of the public, in canteens and lifts, and during face to face meetings.

The health ministry’s ordinance also “recommends” that masks continue to be worn in all indoor public spaces.

It’s important to bear in mind that the rule change that came into effect on May 1st means only that these venues are no longer required by law to enforce a mask mandate.

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

Individual workplaces, businesses and local authorities can still impose stricter rules at their own discretion. Therefore, the rules can vary from one part of Italy to another, and even from one bar or restaurant to another.

In any case, it’s always advisable to keep a mask to hand in case you’re asked to put one on.

Find more information about Italy’s Covid-19 health restrictions on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

Member comments

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. „The health ministry’s mask extension ordinance makes no mention of shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, museums and other cultural sites. All of these spaces will (as planned) no longer require a mask from May 1st.“ Is that true? Masks are still required in Pinacoteca in Milan. Does anyone know why?

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COVID-19 RULES

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Masks will no longer be required in the workplace but Italian companies will have the right to impose restrictions for employees deemed "at risk".

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health and all major national unions collectively signed off on Thursday a new “shared protocol” (protocollo condiviso) for the implementation of anti-Covid measures in private workplaces. 

Although the full text of the bill will only be made available to the public sometime next week, portions of the document have already been released to the media, thus disclosing the government’s next steps in the fight against the virus.

The most relevant update concerns face masks, which will no longer be mandatory in private workplaces. 

However, the text specifies, FFP2 face masks remain “an important protective item aimed at safeguarding workers’ health”. As such, employers will have the right to autonomously impose the use of face coverings on categories of workers considered “at risk”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Notably, face coverings may remain mandatory for those working in “indoor settings shared by multiple employees” or even in “outdoor settings where social distancing may not be practicable”. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (soggetti fragili) may also be subject to such rules, which, it is worth reminding, are left to the employer’s discretion. 

Alongside mask-related restrictions, employers will also have the right to have their staff undergo temperature checks prior to entering the workplace. In such cases, anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5C will be denied access to the workplace and will be asked to temporarily self-isolate pending further indications from their own doctor.

In line with previous measures, companies will be required to continue supplying sanitising products free of charge and regulate access to common areas (canteens, smoking areas, etc.) so as to avoid gatherings.

Additionally, employers will be advised to keep incentivising smart working (lavoro agile), as it has proved to be “a valuable tool to curb infection, especially for at-risk individuals”.

Provided that the country’s infection curve registers no significant changes, the updated protocol will remain in place until October 31st, when it will yet again be reviewed by the relevant governmental and social parties. 

With the latest round of measures, Italy has now scrapped all Covid-related health measures, except the requirement to wear face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings, and self-isolation provisions for those testing positive. 

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Italy’s infection curve has been rising significantly since the beginning of June. From June 1st to June 14th, Covid’s R (spreading rate) rate rose back over 1 for the first time since April 8th. Also, from June 17th to June 23rd, the virus’s incidence rate was 504 cases every 100,000 residents, up by 62 per cent on the previous week.

According to Claudio Mastroianni, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sapienza University of Rome, “with 25 per cent of daily Covid swabs coming back positive and a R rate over 1, the infection curve will likely rise at least until mid-July”.

However, albeit acknowledging the rising number of positive cases, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa has so far categorically excluded the possibility of re-introducing lapsed Covid measures, saying that it’ll be a “restriction-free summer”.

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