Rome and Venice are offically opening to international tourism beginning on June 3rd. Travelers will not be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Italy’s government on Saturday approved a decree which will allow travel to and from abroad from June 3, in a major development as it moves to unwind one of the world’s most rigid coronavirus lockdowns.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined the loosening of movement restrictions on Saturday which all alow international tourists from the European Union.
With Rome and Venice shops, bars and restaurants due to reopen from Monday, the government has also announced that people will no longer have to justify travel within their own region and will be able to meet friends as well as family.
“People will be able to go wherever they want – to a shop, to the mountains, to a lake or the seaside,” he said.
The announcements came as coronavirus deaths in Italy, the third-highest in the world, fell to 153 on Saturday, the lowest since March 9.
A ban on travel between regions and abroad will remain in place until after Italy’s June 2 Republic Day holiday, preventing any mass travel over that long holiday weekend.
But all travel curbs will be lifted from June 3 and travellers from European Union countries will be able to enter Italy and proceed to Rome and Venice without going into quarantine, offering some hope ahead of the summer to the vital tourism sector.
Conte said the decision to lift curbs was a “calculated risk” but added: “We’re facing this risk and we have to accept it because otherwise we will never get started again.”
Italy has had some 31,800 COVID-19 deaths since the disease first emerged in the northern region of Lombardy on February 21, the highest total in the world after the United States and Britain.
In a bid to contain the contagion, Italy was the first European country to impose nationwide restrictions in March, not sanctioning an initial relaxation of the rules until May 4, when it allowed factories and parks to reopen.
The changes announced by Conte take the process further. While large public gatherings will still be banned, church and other religious services can resume and museums and galleries will also be able to open.
Rome and Venice gyms, swimming pools and sports centres will reopen on May 25, while theatres and cinemas can reopen from June 15.
Shops and restaurants across the country are preparing to reopen under strict social distancing and hygiene rules, as recommended by health authorities.
With its economy facing severe recession and public debt expected to spiral to more than 150 per cent of its annual economic output, the government has been desperate to get the country back to work without triggering a second wave in the epidemic.