Italy opens its borders … and what now?

In last months, many have wondered whether it will be possible to come to Italy this summer … and pow! It turns out that it will be possible πŸ™‚ But I’ll start from the beginning:

Decreto Legge n.33 del 16/05/2020

On 05/16/2020, a decree was issued, according to which 06/03/2020 Italy will open its borders to all citizens of the European Union, without requiring 14 days of quarantine. The main reason for this decision is an attempt to save the summer season 2020, which is threatened by a serious crisis. In addition to opening the external borders of the state (i.e. restoring the Schengen Treaty), Italy is also resuming the possibility of free movement throughout the country, which is impossible until 06/03/2020. All these provisions will remain valid til the coronavirus infection curve in Italy remains at the current level or a possible “second wave of infections” will remain at a level that does not compromise the full health care by the public health service to all citizens. In other words, if the number of new infections began to increase dramatically again, Italy would return to the restrictions introduced in March including suspension of the Schengen Treaty.

EU countries

The fact that Italy is opening borders for citizens of other EU countries does not mean that other countries are opening themselves to Italy … and so, for now, the countries that have already announced that they will not require quarantine from those who come from Italy are Slovenia and Switzerland. Other countries have not yet provided guidelines as to possible changes regarding movement between EU countries.

Other countries

At the moment there are no guidelines for citizens of non-EU countries, including the United States and Asian countries. Probably (observing the infection curve and the global epidemiological situation), the first lightening of restrictions will occur not earlier than on 06/15/2020.

New rules for summer 2020

And now some news. To safely relax in Italy, each region, even each municipality came up with rules and instructions for pandemic behaviour. Fortunately, in order not to get lost in numerous norms and prohibitions, there are general national norms to which everyone applies. At the moment, when coming to Italy and Liguria, remember that:

  • always keep a safe distance between people. In Italy, that distance has been established of at least 1m (3 ft)
  • in public places ALWAYS wear a mask, even when in the open air. Actually, this is not a national standard, but the vast majority of Italian cities have introduced it, so I always wear a mask and I don’t check which municipality requires it and which doesn’t πŸ˜‰ It is still not clear yet if you will have to wear it on the beach …
  • deckchairs and umbrellas on private beaches will have to be separated from each other for at least 3 m (10ft) but apart this, there is no other changes in terms of private beaches.
  • the question of public beaches has not been resolved yet. The problem is to guarantee a safe distance between sunbathers. After the first experience with coronavirus, everyone found that we can’t count on the common sense of many persons. Hence there were proposals to introduce a closed maximum number of sunbathers on public beaches. It would be organised like this: before entering the public beach there would be a “steward” who would regulate the number of people entering the beach. There were also proposals to introduce a symbolic fee for entering the beach (0.50 €) that met numerous protests or to introduce an app on the phone that would allow booking a place on a public beach. The final decisions will depend on the municipalities that will introduce the rules they consider most effective … in a word, wherever you want to use a public beach you will have to know well how to use them in the place you will come to.
  • we can swim without masks πŸ™‚
  • swimming pools, apart from restrictions on the number of people in changing rooms and on lanes, did not introduce major restrictions
  • Restaurants and bars have been opened. You have to wear a mask when you get up from the table and when you pay the bill … however, you can eat without a mask (thankfully) πŸ˜‰
  • all stores are opened – they introduced a limit on the maximum number of customers and an absolute requirement of wearing a mask and disposable gloves. Of course, always keeping at least 1 m away from other people
  • museums have been opened (!) the same rules: are mandatory safe distance and masks. Museums will regulate tourist visits so that the rules for safe visiting of these places can be observed.

So you should go or not?

I wanna underlined that each country is afraid of new contagions and of how to manage with a new possible wave of contagions. In Italy, many are not glad about the opening of the borders cause they are afraid that foreign tourists can bring the virus from other countries in Italy. But let’s suppose that your government will let you go out of your country for a holiday and that Italy will welcome all foreign tourists.

This is a question that a lot of people have asked since March … Of course, I can’t tell you what to do, because each of us is responsible for what we do. For this reason, I prepared a small survey on Facebook, in which I asked who would be willing to come to Italy for holidays, and who thinks it is too dangerous. The results are interesting because 66% of voters said that they would go, and 34% would not. In a word, opinions are divided, but optimism wins.

In the end, I add that if the pandemic situation won’t change in the next weeks and we won’t stay in lockdown again, I will definitely spend all my summer going around Liguria and Italy. What’s more, in my opinion, this year is a good opportunity to avoid crowds of tourists actually everywhere (!) So in my opinion, it is a good time to visit Italy πŸ˜‰


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