Italy has been the focus of media stories starting with March 2020. It was the first European country to get severely affected by the coronavirus and it played a key role in the way the other European nations handled the situation by taking it as an example. The situation seems to be under control now, but is it safe to travel to Italy during the coronavirus outbreak?
Coronavirus travel restrictions
With over 250.000 total cases, from which 25.000 are currently infected, Italy was for months a European hotspot for coronavirus. This led the Italian government to impose strict travel restrictions by closing the borders and restricting even regional travel. On June 3rd, Italy decided to lift certain restrictions and was one of the first countries to open its doors to tourism again. All the tourist destinations are open and public transportation has a normal schedule. However, Italy only allows EU citizens to enter the country and also a few select non-EU members. Please check the official website of the Italian Ministry of Health for the list of countries whose citizens are allowed to travel to Italy during coronavirus.
The Italian Government offers a series of measures for travelers to Italy in order to ensure public safety. Some of them include:
- Not traveling if you have any cold symptoms
- Washing your hands with soap and water or using sanitizer when a sink is not available
- Wearing a mask in closed or crowded areas
- Keeping the social distance of at least 1 meter (3ft)
- Not touching your face
People with breathing difficulties and children under 6 years old are not required to wear a mask.
The third-party countries whose citizens are allowed to travel to Italy during coronavirus must be put in quarantine for 14 days after entering the country.
A smartphone application is available for everyone traveling to Italy. It can alert you of possible contacts with infected people. The app can be downloaded from any country, but it can only be used in Italy.
A good thing to know is that Italy’s public healthcare is free. If any traveler gets infected, they’re entitled to receive medical care from public hospitals and emergency rooms, even though visiting the emergency room during the coronavirus outbreak is not advised.
Lifting the restrictions had drawbacks
On the 16th of August, the Italian Ministry of Health announced new safety measures. This was a direct result of summer traveling and trying to revive tourism. Masks became mandatory from 18:00 to 6:00 to avoid the situation from getting worse, especially at a time when they’re trying to reopen schools. All dancing activities in clubs, beaches, and other places that attract crowds were suspended in order to avoid small local outbreaks as it happened in Spain.
Overall it is as safe to travel to Italy during coronavirus as to any other part of Europe. As a tourist, it’s best to check the official website of your embassy and follow the guidelines. Respect the local community by protecting them and yourself at the same time. One thing is for sure. Italy is trying its best to keep the national population and the visitors safe.