UPDATE: On Saturday, May 16th the Italian government announced that travel restrictions will be lifted on June 3. This announcement came as a surprise to many, including me, who expected tourism to be pushed out into late summer (see original post below). In an effort to save the tourist season, the government will allow tourists to enter the country without having to observe a 14 day quarantine. Good news, right? It is, indeed but there’s a catch. The lifting of travel restrictions only applies to those visiting from the European Union, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino. As for when tourists from other countries can visit without the mandatory 14 day quarantine, it’s a bit unclear. The European Union has a ban on foreign tourism until June 15. If that ban is lifted and not extended then Non-European tourists will, most likely, be allowed to visit.
As of today, in Italy there are 219,070 cases of COVID-19 and 30,560 deaths. In our region (Lombardy) the number of cases has reached 81,507 which has resulted in 14,986 deaths. The number of new cases and daily deaths continue to drop each day. It has been a torturously slow decrease in numbers over the course of two months.
One week ago we entered into Phase 2, the plan to gradually re-open the country. There has definitely been more movement around town. People are enjoying their increased freedom and many are eager to get back to work. Museums and retail shops will open on May 18 and restaurants and bars will open on June 1. Of course, social distancing will stay in place and businesses and public spaces have to ensure they follow a list of rules to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Obviously, tourism is a huge part of the Italian economy. It makes up 13 percent of the total GDP. There is alot discussion and debate on when tourism can begin again and what exactly that will look like. The Italian tourism board currently has no information on when the country will be open for tourism and no announcement or plan has been put in place (yet) on how to restart the industry. The Minister of Tourism has ensured the country that plans are in the works. Some have speculated that any kind of travel within Europe will not be allowed until July or August. The question of when Non-European tourists will be allowed into the country is still up in the air. I think it’s safe to say that travel to Italy from Non-European countries will not happen until Fall of 2020 at the very earliest. In the meantime, It truly saddens me that so many people and businesses will suffer so much for the foreseeable future.
Here are a few helpful sites to help you plan your future visit: