Italy’s announcement to extend the five-day quarantine for travellers coming from the UK has had major repercussions on people’s plans this summer.
With just one day until it was due to expire, Italy’s health minister announced on Thursday evening in a Facebook post that he’d signed an ordinance, which would continue the rule until August 30th.
It means that people have had to cancel their holiday plans, postpone seeing loved ones yet again or lose business, as any hopes of dropping the restriction in Italy’s peak summer month were dashed.
As I read Speranza’s post, I finally had to admit defeat that those closest to me won’t make my wedding after pushing it back twice already.
We said that we couldn’t go through this again – we’ve planned and replanned a wedding three times and we’re so far beyond exhausted, we’ve lost all joy for the event.
It was only going to be an intimate gathering anyway, but to not even have your few best friends there to send you off into married life is heartbreaking.
After two years of not seeing them, I was desperate for that emotional support.
To reach this point, just four weeks away from the wedding day, and fall at the final hurdle is too much of a blow to delay it again.
For me, there’s no dilemma – just grief for the day we will now never have.
It seems the move has affected dozens of others too, creating upset and anger.
Gemma Tromans from Birmingham has told us of her despair of the news, as her wedding date is also set for the end of August.
This, too, is her third date and this time, she was sure that her big day on Lake Garda would go ahead.
On reading the news, she described the situation as “a nightmare” and “never ending”, as she is now looking at a potential fourth date to say ‘I do’.
“I feel very annoyed and deflated – the whole situation has just become so exhausting for me and my partner. The stress leading up to this and every other time has been awful for us both,” said Gemma.
She told us she originally had 45 people coming to the event, but each time they were forced to postpone due to restrictions, they lost guests and now have 30 people on the list.
The latest move has left Gemma nervous that the number will decrease again and she admitted she was “dreading” telling her family and friends they’re looking at delaying it once more.
Not only does she and her partner have the headache of rescheduling, there are huge cost implications too.
Due to the venue requiring a minimum number of guests, as numbers dwindle, they have to increasingly fork out more to compensate.
She also pointed out that airlines are unlikely to offer refunds, as flights may not be cancelled – it’s on the the traveller to quarantine and travel is still allowed.
The terms and conditions will vary from airline to airline, but even though Ryanair allows two flight changes free of charge, Gemma expressed upset that you lose the money you paid for baggage allowance each time.
Gemma and I aren’t alone in having our wedding day in Italy ruined for the umpteenth time.
Many other readers have also written to say they will now have to postpone theirs or cancel them altogether, opting to get wed in the UK after all.
Same here mate it’s our 3rd time. Original date 17th June 2020 and moved to following June and then august. Think we will just get married in the UK completely wasted all the money on those legal and CNI forms. So disappointing
— Ollie Walton (@ollywood88) July 30, 2021
And there are countless holiday plans now wasted too.
Travel industry expert Paul Charles tweeted that the decision to extend quarantine is “Italy’s loss”, as hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers will choose other destinations now.
Very surprising to see #Italy extend its 5-day quarantine for #UK visitors to 30th August. In peak season for villa owners, it is turning away hundreds of thousands of #UK visitors who won’t want to self-isolate. Italy’s loss is #Portugal #Greece #Spain’s gain. @ThePCAgency
— Paul Charles (@PPaulCharles) July 30, 2021
Some travellers have said their holiday plans are “ruined”, following the news and are worried about how they’ll get their money back now that they can’t make it to Italy.
Others have opted to book another holiday in a different European travel spot this summer.
Mark Taylor said his break in August was booked for six days, making it unfeasible now that five of those would have to be spent in isolation – and with children.
Yep, family holiday ruined. All double vaccinated. And as flights not actually cancelled doubt we’ll get our money back
— Mark Taylor (@markbrainchoke) July 30, 2021
Many others expressed their dismay at the last-minute nature of the decision, with several people describing it as “shambolic”, as people are forced to cancel their holiday plans – and, sometimes, with no compensation offered.
Emma Raymond is based in Bologna and hasn’t been back to the UK in two years. She said the last-minute decision has meant she’s had to cancel her trip back to the UK, as she couldn’t afford the quarantine on returning to Italy.
I completely understand the need to be prudent etc, but the rules being confirmed last minute at the end of July was just too late- I think there could have been a cautious summer roadmap weeks ago (on both sides), us expats here have really suffered I think
— Emma Raymond (@emmray) July 30, 2021
Sarah, who lives in the UK, tells us she’s been to Italy 30 times and that getting back to Italy is the only thing that’s kept ker going through lockdown.
She said, “It feels like the end of the world having that taken away.”
For some, their business in Italy have suffered, like this owner of accommodation in Tuscany.
Many others have also had to cancel special occasions and hold off on seeing loved ones after many months apart.
Some haven’t had to make a call, as travel operators have taken the decision to cancel holidays to Italy.
Steve Morrow told us TUI cancelled his holiday to Sicily for the end of September, which they’d already postponed from last year due to restrictions.
He described the company’s decision as “hasty” and said he’s still waiting for a full refund from the first postponed holiday.
TUI announced that it was cancelling holidays, including flight-only and accommodation-only bookings, to Sardinia, Sicily and Calabria due to depart on or before October 31st.
Other holidays to Italian lakes and mountains destinations have also been cancelled by the holiday provider.
However, for those with the time to complete quarantine, the news is less devastating.
Despite the restrictions, some travellers are making the trip regardless. People with property in Italy have told us that they’ll still travel as they need to make repairs and do maintenance work on their second home.
Although there has been a lot of disappointment, there have also been words of support for the move.
If you’re looking to travel between Italy and the UK, you can find the updated rules for travel to both countries here.
The Local will continue to follow the travel restrictions closely. Please check our homepage or travel news section for the most recent reports on any changes to the rules.