The Italian government has announced plans to reopen the country to tourists from early June and eliminate the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, accelerating its exit from the COVID-19 lockdown. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had imposed a stringent lockdown in early March to combat the global pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 31,500 people in the country.
While Italy never formally closed its borders, it had restricted movement for tourism and required a two-week isolation period for new arrivals. Starting on June 3, all visitors will be welcomed back without the need for self-isolation. Italians will also regain the ability to travel between regions, though local authorities can impose restrictions in specific areas if there is a surge in infection numbers.
Movements to and from foreign countries can be regulated by regional decrees, based on the epidemiological risk of specific states and territories. Although the peak of Italy’s contagion was in late March, officials have cautioned that a second wave cannot be ruled out, leading to a cautious approach by Prime Minister Conte.
Despite this, some Italian regions have chosen to open various establishments, such as restaurants and beaches, earlier than initially planned. Italy’s restaurants and hairdressers are set to reopen two weeks ahead of schedule, with shops also resuming business. Italians will be allowed to see friends, provided they reside within the same region, and church masses will recommence with social distancing measures in place. Mosques in Italy will also reopen, and regions will have the flexibility to set distancing guidelines for public places or adhere to the government’s regulations, developed in consultation with scientific advisors.