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A woman wears a mask while walking in Vicenza, Italy, in 2020. Beginning May 1, 2022, Italy plans to drop most of its coronavirus restrictions.

A woman wears a mask while walking in Vicenza, Italy, in 2020. Beginning May 1, 2022, Italy plans to drop most of its coronavirus restrictions. (Nancy Montgomery/Stars and Stripes)

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NAPLES, Italy — Italy on Thursday promised a return to normalcy over the next several weeks, approving a plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions that includes an end to vaccination requirements for entrance to restaurants, businesses and other public places.

Beginning May 1, green passes or their equivalent no longer will be required for people to participate in a variety of activities or visit public places and businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters and gyms, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Thursday.

A requirement that masks be worn indoors and on public transportation also will end May 1, according to the newspaper.

It was unclear Friday how U.S. military installations in Italy will respond to the changes. During the pandemic, commands have taken a few days to study Italian decrees, later informing their communities about changes and the impact of the revisions on base rules.

Typically, Naval Support Activity Naples and other bases have followed Italian rules except when U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Defense Department guidelines are stricter.

Starting April 1, members of U.S. military communities and Italians will see an end to some COVID-19 restrictions that affect their ability to work, use public transportation and visit shops and service providers.

For example, passengers will no longer need a green pass to take buses, taxis, subways or other local transportation, but they still must wear an FFP-2 or equivalent mask, such as an N95.

Travelers on airplanes, trains or ships still will need to have a green pass and wear a mask, but both requirements will end May 1.

Green passes certify that the bearer has been vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from it or tested negative for the disease. The U.S. CDC vaccination card is generally accepted in its place.

A green pass also won’t be needed for visits to outdoor restaurants, cafes or bars, Corriere della Sera reported. Patrons will need to show a green pass to eat or drink indoors until May 1.

A more than two-year-long state of emergency giving the Italian government broad powers in responding to the pandemic will end March 31, the government said Thursday on its website.

On Thursday, 128 deaths from COVID-19 and 79,895 new infections were reported by the Italian Health Ministry.

Those numbers are down significantly from January when the omicron variant was surging. The ministry reported a rise in infections this week over the previous week but said it did not appear to be putting pressure on hospitals, the Italian news service Ansa reported Friday.

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Alison Bath reports on the U.S. Navy, including U.S. 6th Fleet, in Europe and Africa. She has reported for a variety of publications in Montana, Nevada and Louisiana, and served as editor of newspapers in Louisiana, Oregon and Washington.
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