Florence (& Tuscany) Enter the ‘White Zone’

Luca della Robbia’s Renaissance cantorial pulpit in Florence’s Cathedral Museum

The first day of summer brings residents in Florence and Tuscany relief from COVID-19 restrictions.  The downward trend in COVID-19 cases and increase in vaccinations brings more than just warm weather to start off the summer months. Tuscany will join the rest of Italy in becoming a “white zone,” and the national curfew will be lifted, starting Monday, June 21.

The region, previously ranked as a medium-risk “yellow zone,” is among the last regions to move into the low-risk “white zone.” The new classification began nationally earlier this month and is restricted to regions that register less than 50 daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for three consecutive weeks. Upon entering the “white zone,” several of the remaining “yellow zone” restrictions will be lifted in the region.

Under the “yellow zone” classification, several establishments, such as museums, schools and universities, cinemas and theaters, gyms, restaurants and bars were able to open at limited capacity. Now under the “white zone” classification, restrictions will be limited to mask wearing and social distancing rules. This not only means an end to self-certifications and the national curfew – which was recently moved from 11 pm to midnight – but the reopening of many activities and establishments closed under the “yellow zone” classification.

The new guidelines – under the “white zone” classification – are outlined in an ordinance issued by Heath Minister Roberto Speranza.

Restaurant capacity limits increase

Inside dining was previously limited to four people, under the “yellow zone” guidelines. Now under the “white zone” classification, a maximum of six people, either cohabitating or not, are allowed per table. The new ordinance also allows for that number to be more than six if those sitting together live in the same house.

As for outside dining, there are no limits in the “white zone.”

Welcoming house guests is now ‘okay’

According to the new guidelines, there are no limits to home visits. This means, family and friends can visit one another without worry of time restraints or the number of people gathering.  It is however, important to note, if you move from a “white zone” region into a “yellow zone” region, then the rules apply for the region of residence.

Even though there are no limits to home visits, the ordinance restricts home dinners to a maximum of 15 guests.

Remaining activities and establishments reopen

In the “white zone,” all activities prohibited in the “yellow zone” can reopen. This includes: baptisms, confirmations, wedding receptions, other civil and religious ceremonies–all are now available with a “green pass”–and indoor swimming pools, theme parks, game rooms and betting rooms, conferences and congresses and indoor sporting events (with a maximum of 500 spectators).

Wedding receptions allowed, with limitations

The summer 2021 wedding parties, that have for so long been cancelled, may now commence. As of June 15, the government has given wedding parties the green light; however, there are a few caveats.

All guests must have a green certificate, which attests that they either are vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or tested negative for COVID-19 upon 48 hours of the reception. In addition, the guest list will also need to provide a self-certification for the reception site. This certifies that the guests have not been in contact with anyone that has tested positive in the last two weeks. The guests at the wedding party must also follow proper mask and social distancing guidelines.

In reference to live music and party favors, they are allowed at receptions, but social distancing and sanitation guidelines must be followed accordingly. Lastly, the wedding party must be accompanied by COVID-19 managers. The guidelines require that there must be one COVID-19 manager for every 50 guests. Their job is to make sure that everyone is following the safety measures outlined above.

As Italy enters the summer months, positive news regarding COVID-19 continues. The lift on restrictions not only followed Tuscany’s movement into the “white zone,” but succeeded the closure of COVID-19 wards in three major hospitals in the greater Florence metropolitan area. These include Santa Maria Nuova, Careggi and Torrigalli, which respectively closed June 2, June 4 and June 8. Ponte a Niccheri remains the only major hospital in the Florence area with a COVID-19 ward.  (rachel pellegrino)

To read about Florence’s “white zone” nightlife restrictions, click here.

To read more in Italian about COVID-19 guidelines for wedding receptions, visit the Unione Nazionale Consumatori site.

To read more in Italian about the “white zone,” visit La Repubblica news site.