On the 3rd of June, Italy reopens its borders to other EU and Schengen citizens (including those coming from Switzerland and Monaco) who will be able to travel to Il Belpaese without having to spend 14 days in preventive isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision has been taken to allow the Summer tourist season in the country to pick up as normally as possible. Tourism represents 13% of the national GDP, bringing into the country’s coffers a hefty 232.2 billion euro every year (that’s roughly 260.5 billion USD) and giving work to 3.5 million Italians (15% of total national employment). Along with the agro-food industry and high end manufacturing (our beloved Made in Italy), it is one of the training forces of our economy. As in the rest of the world, the coronavirus pandemic affected tremendously the tourism industry in Italy, with dramatic losses for the first quarter of the year.
The decision to reopen European and Schengen borders comes in unison with the work of the EU Commission, which has been coordinating the border reopening of all EU member states. The goal is that of finally allowing EU citizens to travel within Europe freely, while ensuring it all takes place in safety. Covid-19 cases have been decreasing across the continent, but it is essential to maintain high levels of control and awareness to avoid a second peak: for this reason, Italy — and the EU — opted for a policy of controlled, regulated freedom, with strict monitoring of all areas and possible stops to movements, should coronavirus clusters appear again.
For non-EU and non-Schengen travelers, the wait will be slightly longer, as the earliest possible date for the reopening of Italian borders to the rest of the world (USA included) is the 15th of June. However, this is not a fully Italian decision: it is, in fact, the EU Commission that will make the final call for all EU member states.
Finally, after three months of complete isolation, Italy reopens its borders: may it be a sign of the end of a tragic, frightening time and the beginning of a period of much coveted and desired return to serenity and freedom.
Careful though: we cannot let the our guard down quite yet!