From June 28, people no longer need to wear masks outdoors because the risk level decreases as the number of cases decreases.
The Italian government stated that from June 28, Italians will no longer need to wear masks outdoors because of the decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in one of the countries most severely affected by the pandemic in Europe.
Masks were mandatory in October last year, when the country was entering a second wave of infections, and the authorities were working to contain the surge in the number of cases nationwide.
The government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been steadily lifting restrictions since April, allowing restaurants, bars, cinemas and gyms to reopen, and allowing free movement across the country.
Wearing a mask is one of the last remaining rules.
The government said on Monday that it will not be completely cancelled; people will still be required to wear masks in indoor public areas and on public transportation.
People will be advised to continue to carry masks when leaving home and be prepared to wear them outdoors when there are crowds and activities with a high risk of virus transmission (such as large gatherings).
The decision will take effect from next Monday, when the country is expected to become a COVID-19 white area, which is the lowest risk level of the four-layer color coding system used by Italy to calibrate the curbs in its 20 regions.
Nineteen areas are already white.
The small area north of Valle d’Aosta is an exception-it is yellow, indicating the second lowest level of risk.
“From June 28th, we will no longer need to wear masks outside the white areas,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote on Facebook after receiving recommendations from the government expert committee.
The announcement was made after other European countries such as France and Spain made similar decisions, although Europe is still concerned about the spread of the new, highly contagious delta virus.
26% of Italians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while approximately 52% have received at least one dose.
The vaccination figures are basically the same as those of other major EU countries.
At the same time, cases are currently at the lowest level in 2021, and pressure on hospitals is steadily alleviating. On Monday, there were 21 deaths across the country and 495 new infections.
In total, Italy recorded 127,291 coronavirus deaths and 4.25 million infections.