Italy Extends Strict COVID-19 Lockdown

Italy is extending its holiday pandemic restrictions through at least Jan. 15, government officials there have announced. 

The rules prohibit travel between regions of the country unless it's for healthcare or work. Bars and restaurants nationwide are restricted to takeout and delivery. In the hardest hit areas of Italy, people are told to visit no more than one other private home each day in groups no larger than two.

Italian officials are making allowances for small town residents to travel on certain days. On Jan. 9 and 10, for example, residents of towns with fewer than 5,000 people will be permitted to travel about 18 miles past regional borders.

St Peter's Square

Italy has so far reported more than 2 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 76,000 deaths, according to data being tracked by The New York Times. Italy was the first western country to enact a lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus in March 2020 and flattened its curve enough to reopen restaurants, bars, shops, and museums by summer. It has since seen a resurgence of COVID-19 with reports of new cases peaking at more than 40,000 a day in November.

Italy began reimposing curfews in early November, kept its ski slopes closed, canceled Midnight Mass, and instituted new lockdowns to stem the COVID-19 resurgence, which comes alongside the discovery of new, potentially more contagious, variants of the coronavirus in the U.K. and South Africa. 

England and Scotland announced new lockdowns on Monday. While those measures close schools, Italy is taking a different approach. 

Italy plans to reopen high schools for some in-person instruction Jan. 11. Kindergarten and primary school students are scheduled to return to schools in person Jan. 7. 

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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