In a bid to revive the country’s hard-hit tourism industry before the summer holidays, Italy announced Saturday it will allow travel in and out of the country starting June 3.
- The move lifts one of Europe’s earliest and most restrictive travel bans and paves the way for tourists to spend summer vacations in the country.
- The announcement did not specify whether the measure only applies to travelers from the European Union, since the EU recommends external borders remain closed to foreign nationals until at least June 15.
- The decree also permits Italians to travel within the country, easing lockdown measures from March that prevented residents from moving outside their region.
- The U.S. State Department still advises citizens to avoid all international travel.
- The Italian Embassy in Washington D.C. did not immediately respond to questions from Forbes asking whether Americans or tourists from outside the EU will be allowed to travel to Italy on June 3.
The EU is urging countries to open up internal borders, allowing non-essential travel between European nations, before opening external ones. Germany, for example, opening its borders with France, Austria and Switzerland on June 15, creating a sort of “travel bubble” for the summer months. The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania too are reopening borders to one another.
Italy experienced one of the earliest and most severe outbreaks in Europe, but the country has made progress in recent weeks: only 1,000 new COVID-19 cases are being reported daily, compared to 6,000 at the peak of the outbreak in March, according to the Washington Post. Bars, restaurants, shops, hairdressers and religious services will be able to open on Monday, while all other economic activity will be allowed to resume on June 3, provided businesses follow social distancing and disinfecting guidelines.
13%. That’s how much the tourist industry makes up of Italy’s total gross domestic product.