Italy says face masks no longer mandatory outdoors from June 28

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 22 2021 07:28 AM

Italy says face masks no longer mandatory outdoors from June 28 1
People sit at outdoor tables at St. Mark's Square as Italy lifts quarantine restrictions for travelers arriving from European Union countries, Britain and Israel and begins offering COVID-free flights in a bid to revive the tourism industry, in Venice, Italy, on May 16, 2021. Manuel Silvestri, Reuters/file

ROME - Facemasks will no longer be compulsory outdoors in Italy, one of the countries in Europe worst hit by the coronavirus, from June 28, the health ministry said Monday.

The lifting of the mask requirement would come into effect in regions labelled "white" under Italy's classification system for how rapidly the virus is spreading, Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote on Facebook.

This includes all Italian regions except the tiny Aosta Valley in the far northwest.

Speranza's announcement came on advice from Italy's Comitato Tecnico Scientifico (CTS) scientific advisory panel, which said people should still have masks at hand for events with higher risk of spreading the virus like large gatherings.

By June 28, experts predict all of Italy will be classified a "white" zone, with just 21 deaths and 495 new cases recorded nationwide on Monday.

The country has recorded 127,291 deaths since the pandemic reached it in early 2020, with 4.25 million infections.

So far 30 percent of people over 12 have been vaccinated, or around 16 million out of a population of 60 million.

More than 46 million vaccine doses have been administered in Italy.

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