From today, 11 October, Italian theatres return to 100% capacity. After months of struggling with an income from 50% houses the Council of Ministers has decided that theatres, cinemas, and cultural venues in the white zones (and currently all of Italy is in that category), can augment their capacity to 100%, while discos can reopen, after 18 months, at 50%. La Scala, which was able to sell up to 930 seats, has changed its seating plans from today, returning to 2,030 tickets for each performance. Optimistic that Milan will remain in the white zone, the theatre is selling some concerts up until the end of February 2022, though opera and ballet performances are only bookable for the next six weeks until the end of the 2020-2021 season.
Italy has red, orange, yellow and white zones, according to the severity of infections and hospitalisations. The government's Technical and Scientific Committee recommended that cinemas, theatres, and indoor venues should only open at 80% and discos at 35%, but politicians decided to approve full-capacity opening.
To enter the venue, the necessity for a Green Pass (for someone vaccinated, who has recovered from Covid during the preceding months, or who has had a negative test during the previous 48 hours) will continue, as will the wearing of masks from the moment one enters the building, and temperature checks for each spectator.
Stadiums, on the other hand, will open at 75% and sports halls at 60%, all with Green Passes but without social distancing. The reduced capacity of 50% will remain for theatres in yellow zones, and in zones above that level the venues will be closed.
The Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, wrote:
Finally, culture comes back to life. From 11 October, cinemas, theatres, and indoor and outdoor concerts are back to 100% capacity, obviously with a mask and Green Pass. In stadiums and sports arenas, the same rules apply for music as for sport. The government's measure on capacity is a breath of fresh air for the whole country and for many economic activities. The Green Pass is working, the number of vaccinated people is increasing, and as a result, in recent weeks the figures for infections, hospitalisations and deaths have dropped significantly. This will therefore be important news in the white zone.
Fines have been increased for managers who fail to comply with the rules, with closures ranging from one to ten days. From 15 October, a Green Pass will also be compulsory for all workers in both the public and private sector.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.