ROME (AFP) – Italians were finally able to go outside without masks yesterday after the whole country became a “low-risk” zone for coronavirus, a milestone for the first European country to be hit by the global pandemic in February 2020.
In a decree that took effect yesterday, the Health Ministry for the first time classified each of Italy’s 20 regions as “white”, the lowest of four categories under a colour-coded classification system that evaluates COVID-19 risk.
It means facemasks are no longer compulsory in outdoor areas – welcome news in a country where an ongoing heatwave is expected to push temperatures past 40 degrees Celsius in some southern areas this week.
“It’s a kind of relief as it’s very hot,” local Salvatore Casuccio told AFP in central Rome.
However, many people out and about yesterday morning were still wearing their masks, whether through habit or continued concern.
Giulia, another Rome resident, was still wearing hers, as was her mother. “We are still concerned about this situation. It’s not over yet,” she said.