COVID 19 – Coronavirus Update

Update as of January 14

COVID-19 is a global situation that has interrupted and disrupted everyone’s travel plans, not to mention personal day-to-day living.

Italy’s “emergency status” has been extended to April 30, 2021 with next update by March 5th.

Italy has implemented a nationwide color-code system to indicate how each region (or zone) is being viewed in terms of its COVID situation (ie white for no concerns, yellow for minimum concern, orange, more concern and red, the most concerning and most restrictive). Residents in “orange zones” are banned from leaving their towns (comune) except for work or health reasons — and bars and restaurants are closed except for delivery and takeout. Those in “red zone” regions may only leave home for necessities, health or work.

Italy is adding an extra color to its tier system: white, reserved for parts of the country where the coronavirus risk is lowest. These areas will be exempt from the restrictions in place in yellow, orange or red zones, including the nightly curfew (10pm) and 6pm closing time for bars and restaurants. None of Italy’s 20 regions currently meet the White zone criteria; the region that comes closest is Tuscany, where the rate of incidence is still around three times higher than it would need to be.

Italian law states that the duration of a national state of emergency cannot exceed 12 months and can be extended for no more than a further 12 months. However, the 12-month extension period starts with the first extension, which began on July 31st 2020. This suggests that the state of emergency will end at the very latest on July 31st 2021. There are high hopes that Italy (and the world) will have made good progress with vaccination campaigns by that point. As of January 14th, Italy has vaccinated almost 900,000 people (on a population of approximately 60 million).

We do offer some encouraging news: Vaccine programs have begun seemingly in all countries. Italy’s Transport and Foreign Affairs, authorized Alitalia Airlines to conduct “Covid-tested” flights between some U.S. airports (New York JFK, Newark Liberty and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson) and Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci airport (we assume other Alitalia flights originating in other countries are able to offer the same). These initial flights have now been completed successfully.

This is a very important development aimed at promoting air travel connections between Italy and the United States, in full compliance with high levels of health safety both for travelers and the country.

Passengers who test negative after meeting the following conditions will be able to enter Italy without needing to undergo health surveillance or a 14-day period of self-isolation: travelers who get a negative rapid antigenic test directly at the airport in the U.S., or who present a negative PCR or antigenic molecular test certificate issued within 48 hours before their departure. In both cases, these must be followed by second (negative) test carried upon arrival in Rome Fiumicino airport, in designated facilities that have already been set up. Equally, flights departing from Italy to the United States will be able to board passengers who have tested negative. Upon arrival, passengers will have to comply with the updated recommendations of US authorities.

United Airlines announces COVID testing and contact tracing for all passengers: United Airlines

Other airlines operating connections between the interested airports are considering starting “Covid-tested” US-Italy flights in the coming weeks.

Current “Safe List” for open entry to Italy:
– Australia
– Japan
– New Zealand
– Rwanda
– Singapore
– Thailand
– Uruguay

Entry rules for the United States for now remain unchanged: entry to Italy is only permitted for essential reasons (ie work related) or to return home, but not as a tourist. Under these provisions (which we used back in October), a negative test result within 48 hours of boarding is required.

It is anticipated that all travel rules, domestic and international, will be reviewed by January 16.

Current COVID News in Italy

More details and links to related online information can be found below.

Revised Terms & Conditions for New Palio Accommodation/Ticket Package Reservations

With consideration to the COVID pandemic situation; With any new 2021 Palio Accommodation/Ticket Package reservation, if notice to cancel (due to COVID travel restrictions) is provided before January 1st, 2021, we will provide for a refund of any payments made (net of credit card service charges). Or if notice to cancellation is made prior to the March 1st date we can also offer to transfer the reservation (and its payments to the respective Palio race in 2022).

After the March 1st date and up until May 29th 2021, if cancellation notice is given, we can provide a 40% refund, the remaining funds could be refunded if we are able to resell the Tickets (ie palio tickets, contrada dinner tickets, trial race tickets). For any notice after May 29th, there are no refunds.

The exception to the above refund schedule relates to certain hotels; payments for Grand Continental and Relais degli Angeli are not refundable at any time (and were not previously). These are terms expressly dictated by these 2 hotels. Also certain Campo Apartments or the Campo Suites (w/ windows or balconies) may be exempt from any refund provisions.

Opera Tickets

Milan La Scala: Information on the 2020/2021 Season will be announced soon. For more details: http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/coronavirus.html  Refunds are available on cancelled performances.

Verona Opera: the summer program for 2020 was cancelled. The performance schedule for 2021 can be viewed here: https://paliotours.com/opera-tickets-italy/  Currently purchased 2020 ticket holders can select the same or another performance from the 2021 schedule up until December 15, 2020. More details provided here: Verona Opera Tickets

More News for Travel to Italy

As of September 7, EU member state countries (except Croatia, Greece, Malta, Spain, Romania and Bulgaria) are allowed entry to Italy. In addition, the UK, Northern Ireland, Andorra and Principality of Monaco are also allowed entry. The list of other safe countries currently includes: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. *China is also on the EU list, but only on the condition of reciprocal action by the Chinese authorities”.

The United States is not on the approved list. 

Latest News:

Other Useful Information

The following links are offered to help you stay informed with the most accurate information on pandemic conditions and or the travel restrictions issued by European and U.S. Governments.

Italian Ministry: Foreign Travelers in Italy

IATA –  COVID-19 Global Travelers’ Map

Italy:  COVID-19 Map

W.H.O. on COVID-19: World Health Organization

Travel Information and Restrictions for Italy: U.S. State Department

Italy COVID-19 Info: U.S. Embassy

Check the Center of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) for travel related updates.

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