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Italy Signals It Will Reopen to Foreign Travelers in Mid-May

Photo by Shutterstock “The time has come to book your holidays in Italy,” says Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Twist our arm.


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“Let us not wait until mid-June for the EU pass. In mid-May tourists can have the Italian pass . . . so the time has come to book your holidays in Italy,” Draghi said after a May 4 meeting of G20 tourism ministers, according to a Reuters report.

Draghi said Italy is set to introduce a health pass that will facilitate travel later this month, Reuters reported. He said it was important to provide clear and simple rules to ensure that tourists can once again travel freely in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Draghi’s statement comes even as Italy’s Foreign Ministry currently advises all Italian citizens against traveling abroad due to “the worsening epidemiological situation in Europe.”

The majority of Italy is in what the government deems the “yellow zone” (the country’s regions are designated as red, orange, yellow, and white zones depending on the epidemiological situation). A curfew remains in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. While in the yellow zone, outdoor dining is permitted but indoor dining at bars, cafés, and restaurants is not. Museums and cultural institutions are open with capacity limits. Masks are required indoors and outside for the foreseeable future.

Currently, travelers coming to Italy from most of Europe must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to arrival in Italy. Those arriving from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Rwanda, and Thailand must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours before arrival and quarantine for 10 days.

Those traveling from any other country or territory can only enter Italy if they are traveling for work, health reasons, for study, “absolute urgency,” or are returning to their home or dwelling, and they must provide a negative COVID-19 test and quarantine for 10 days as well.

Effective April 29, Italy has banned all travel from India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, with the exception of Italian residents.

Travel to the European Union, including Italy, has been off limits to most foreign visitors since March 2020, when Europe’s leaders imposed international travel restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

On May 2, the European Commission proposed finally easing those restrictions.

“We propose to welcome again vaccinated visitors and those from countries with a good health situation,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Under the Commission’s proposal, entry would be granted to all those fully vaccinated with EU-authorized shots, which include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. European leaders are set to discuss the proposal this week, and the European Commission hopes it could be implemented by June.

European officials have also proposed introducing a Digital Green Certificate aimed at facilitating travel within Europe. The documents would be provided to EU residents who can prove they have been vaccinated, can provide a negative coronavirus test, or can prove they have recovered from COVID-19.

“Until the digital green certificate is operational, member states should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries,” the Commission said, adding that unvaccinated children should be able to travel with their vaccinated parents if they provide a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Associated Press contributed reporting.

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