Italy Announces Plan to Eliminate COVID-19 Restrictions — Here's What's Changing
Italy will gradually phase out its COVID-19 restrictions, the government announced on Thursday, becoming the latest European destination to ditch pandemic-related measures.
Starting May 1, its digital 'green pass' will no longer be required to access places like restaurants and public transportation, Reuters reported. The pass is currently issued to people who are fully vaccinated or who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered.
"The Green Pass was a great success, allowing our economy to start up again and recover," Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi said during a news conference. "Decisions have been made based on the science… We took fundamental steps towards reopening, but we are of course keeping a very close watch on the epidemic curve and stand ready to adapt all our system depending on how the epidemic curve evolves, also introducing broader measures if necessary."
In addition to allowing the digital Green Pass to lapse, Italy will also allow its state of emergency to expire on March 31, the wire service noted.
The decision to lift COVID-19-related curbs comes just weeks after Italy dropped pre-arrival testing requirements for vaccinated travelers, allowing them to enter the country by simply showing they have been fully vaccinated within nine months or received a booster shot. The country also allows unvaccinated travelers to enter if they show they have either recovered from COVID-19 within six months, show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip, or show proof of a negative rapid test taken within 48 hours of their trip.
All travelers must also fill out a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in the country.
COVID-19 cases are currently increasing in Italy with the country reporting an average of more than 61,600 new infections each day, according to Reuters. But that is far below the peak in January when daily cases topped more than 200,000.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Italy under "Level 4," its highest travel warning, and told Americans to "avoid" going there due to "very high" levels of COVID-19 transmission.
Italy is not the only European country to ease pandemic-era protocols in recent weeks. Last month, Iceland lifted all COVID-19 restrictions, followed by Ireland earlier this month. And on Friday, the United Kingdom eliminated passenger locator forms and all additional tests after initially dropping its pre-departure test requirement for vaccinated travelers in February.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.