Italy’s state of emergency to curb the spread of coronavirus officially ended on Thursday, in what is a giant leap toward a summer of sun, sea and socialising.
Italy was the first country in Europe to be hit by a major COVID-19 outbreak and also one of the first to impose a state of emergency.
The COVID-19 state of emergency, which allows authorities to bypass bureaucracy and impose rules via decrees such as limited mobility, was established on January 31, 2020 shortly after the detection of the first cases in the country.
The World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic only on March 11, 2020.
The end of the state of emergency has given Italians and international travellers hopes of a return to normality this summer after more than two years of the health crisis.
Restrictions, such as the COVID-19 vaccination certificate, also known as the “green pass” in Italy, will be gradually eased.
From Friday, the contentious green pass will no longer be mandatory for outdoor seating but it will remain in force for indoor seating, cinemas and night venues.
The health pass will also no longer be compulsory in hotels or banks but will still be required to enter gyms and public swimming pools.
“We are relying on discipline to gradually end the green pass as of May 1,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.
A decision on ending face masks, which remain compulsory indoors, has not yet been reached.
Many European countries have removed their COVID-19 curbs more aggressively, with France and Germany also recently opting to lift most of their restrictions.
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