Florence a ‘Yellow Zone’, Then ‘Red’ and ‘Orange:’ A Guide

The Kome Japanese restaurant in Florence will reopen when Florence becomes a “yellow” zone

Florence and the entire region of Tuscany will become a “yellow zone” with fewer restrictions in place designed to lessen the number of Coronavirus contagions from Sunday, December 20 to Wednesday, December 23.  Customers can once again enjoy sit-down service at restaurants, bars, cafés, pizzerias, pubs and pastry shops during those four days of comparative freedom.  Restaurants can remain open until 10 pm for take out orders, while deliveries can take place 24/7.  Museums, exhibitions, theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, gyms, day spas and wellness centers will continue to be closed.  The curfew from 10 pm to 5 am must be observed by everyone except for those who need to be out and about for “necessity, work or health reasons” with a document of self certification.

Starting December 21, travel outside one’s region of residence will be prohibited until January 7.  The entire country of Italy becomes a “red zone” on December 24, 25 (Christmas Day), plus December 26 (Santo Stefano), Sunday, December 27 and again from December 31 – January 1 (New Year’s Day) as well as on January 5 – 6  (Epiphany).

Due to criticism, however, both by Italian citizens and government officials such as Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio, have calling for leniency in visitation rules for families over the holiday period.  As a consequence, two relatives or friends are now allowed to join a family at the holiday table in addition to children 14 and under and the handicapped.  Residents of towns that are not provincial capitals may travel within a radius of 30 km (18.6 miles) but cannot visit a provincial capital such as Florence, Siena, Grosseto, Pisa, Lucca, Massa Carrara, Prato and Pistoia. All this is possible by filling out and bringing a self-certification form when in transit.  Until December 20, Italian residents may travel to a different region to visit friends or family under the condition that from one area to another, both locations are “yellow.”

According to the limitations of the “red zone,” retail shops will stay closed along with nail salons.  It is prohibited to leave one’s town of residence at any time except for work and health reasons or necessity; the same applies for going out where one lives. Restaurants and bars will remain closed except for take out (up to 10 pm) or delivery, which can take place 24/7.  Grocery stores, supermarkets, pet food shops, hardware stores, newsstands, hairdressers, dry cleaners and pharmacies can stay open.  Residents run, jog or bike within town limits but exercise or take a walk only near their home. Museums, exhibitions, cinemas and theaters will stay closed; buses, trains and trams will accept only 50% of passenger capacity.  It will be against the law to leave one’s town of residence.  Those violating the regulations and stopped by police will receive a fine between €400 and €1000.

The other days of the holiday season–December 28, 29, 30 and January 2, 3, 4–all of Italy will become an “orange zone.”

Restaurants and bars will shut except to prepare take out and delivery orders.  Retail shops, supermarkets, grocery stores, newsstands and pharmacies may remain open in addition to hairdressers and nail salons.  Museums and theaters will remain closed.  People cannot travel outside their town or city of residence except for work, necessity or health reasons, always with self-certification.

Self certification is not needed to leave the home to move around one’s town of residence, but is necessary to travel within the region for reasons of work, health or emergency or alternatively, to one’s second home.. Museums, exhibitions and betting halls continue to remain closed in addition to shopping malls and centers on the weekend.  The edict also mandates public transportation (buses, trams and trains) be limited to to 50% capacity.  (rosanna cirigliano)