Italians would soon be forced to wear face masks at all times when outdoors, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Tuesday, confirming reports about upcoming virus containment measures.
The government is planning “the extension of the obligation to wear face masks also outdoors,’’ Speranza told the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament.
He added that the measure should be part of a decree due to be adopted on Wednesday.
Speranza also said there would be a stricter enforcement of social-distancing rules in public spaces, given the contagion risk from gatherings of people.
Face masks are already compulsory for outdoor activities in several Italian regions, including Sicily, Campania and Lazio. The latter two are the regions that include Naples and Rome.
The obligation normally does not apply to children under 6; people with disabilities; outdoor customers of bars and restaurants; or anyone practising sports or exercising.
Italian authorities are stepping up novel coronavirus containment measures in response to a surge in daily contagion numbers, which have reached the highest level seen since late April.
On Monday, there were 2,257 cases, compared to 1,494 a week earlier.