Italy Lifts Travel Ban for Unmarried International Couples

| Wed, 09/09/2020 - 04:40
Smiling couple wearing face masks in Italy

International couples who have remained separated due to the Covid-19 travel ban can now reunite, according to the latest emergency decree signed by Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on September 7. 

Before this change was introduced, people who were not residing in countries for which the travel ban was lifted beginning June 3 (EU and Schengen countries), with further additions throughout the summer (some countries outside Europe for which a quarantine was required upon arrival in Italy) could not travel to Italy to visit their partners unless they were married.  

The latest Italian government decree allows couples separated by the travel ban to reunite, even if unmarried and not living together. The only requirement is a “stable emotional relationship,” whatever that means, and it remains unclear how that can be verified. Given for example the restrictions in place for air travel, it may be difficult to prove it to an airline. 

All travelers arriving in Italy from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days unless they are traveling from an exempted country. A list of exempted countries is available here.

The change seems to accommodate the requests of the #LoveIsNotTourism movement, which went viral on social networks starting in July, when hundreds of couples separated by geographical borders mobilized to ask the Italian government allow entry into Italy of partners residing in non-EU countries.

"Love is not tourism," reads the LoveIsNotTourism website. "This is not just about a summer holiday, it is about mental health and the future of people all around the world. [...] We are willing to submit to appropriate safety regulations: self-paid test upon arrival and quarantine until a negative result is received or a 14 day strict quarantine, as long as unmarried couples and families can visit their most important people [...]."

Italian media have reported cases of couples whose child was born without the father being present because of the travel bans. 

Most of the other restrictions, such as closure of discos and soccer stadiums, remain in place until October 7. The use of face masks in public indoor spaces and outside where a safe distance cannot be guaranteed also remains in place, as well as 80% capacity for public transport. 

Furthermore, the government is considering a plan to reduce the use of cash, a possible cause for virus transmission, reports La Repubblica newspaper.