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UPDATE: How weddings are restarting in Italy with the ‘green pass’

After months of couples putting their wedding plans on hold, ceremonies can go ahead once again from Tuesday according to rules set out by Italian authorities. Here's everything you need to know about tying the knot in Italy this summer.

UPDATE: How weddings are restarting in Italy with the 'green pass'
Photo: Anton Mislawsky / Unsplash

The wedding industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, but the sector is finally getting some reprieve as wedding receptions for both civil and religious ceremonies were allowed to resume from June 15th across the whole of Italy.

Government guidelines were laid out in an ordinance by the Italian Ministry of Health, and the Italian authorities confirmed all regions, not just those in white zones, now have the go-ahead to hold wedding receptions as well as ceremonies once again.

READ ALSO: ‘We’re exhausted’: What it’s like planning a wedding in Italy during the pandemic

“Parties following civil or religious ceremonies, including indoor ones, must take place in compliance with protocol and guidelines,” stated the Ministry of Health and the Conference of Regions.

“The possibility of such festivities in the yellow zone will be brought forward to June 15th,” the statement added.

Here’s the protocol that couples, guests and venues will need to stick to.

Guests need a ‘green pass’

Everyone attending must have a health certificate for travel and events, also known as a ‘green pass‘.

That means the couple, the guests and venue staff will have to provide a certificate showing that they’ve been vaccinated, have had Covid-19 and recovered or show a negative test result within 48 hours before the celebrations.

For the certificate to be valid for attending a wedding, just the first dose of vaccine will be enough – as long as the shot was administered at least fifteen days prior to the event.

If you’ve had Covid-19, you’ll need to prove that with a certificate issued by the local health authority (ASL) or general practitioner.

Following EU approval of the digital health certificate, also known in Italy as a Covid health pass or Covid immunity pass, the country is yet to officially launch their digital version.

The certificate can be used for travel within the EU from July 1st and also for attending events, such as weddings, or when going to nightclubs in Italy.

TRAVEL: Italy will bring back quarantine rule for UK arrivals ‘if necessary’, says PM

The ‘green pass’ was introduced to allow travel within Italy – and is expected to soon allow international travel. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

For now, Italy’s ‘green pass’ is currently in paper format and details of a digital version are anticipated in the coming days, now that Prime Minister Mario Draghi has returned from the G7 summit.

So far, those making plans to travel to Italy for a holiday or a wedding can go off the draft of the new decree law, which explains how this certificate can be in both digital and paper format and will allow you to forego quarantine or tests on arrival.

For family and friends travelling to Italy for a wedding, guests may also be able to get these certificates in their country of origin.

“Certifications issued in European Union member states are recognised as equivalent, as are those issued in a third country following a vaccination recognised in the European Union,” stated the Italian government’s April decree.

Italy’s so-called ‘green pass’ was first introduced to allow travel to restart, and under the new May decree it is now being extended to allow people to attend larger events.

How many guests can you invite?

There is no limit to the amount of guests you can invite, but couples planning their big day must take the space available into account.

That involves ensuring there’s a minimum of two metres between tables and if possible, even extend this to 2.5 metres.

In addition, each guest must have their body temperature measured and will be denied entry if they record a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees.

The wedding venue will also need the final list of those attending no later than seven days before the celebrations – and they’ll have to keep this list for 14 days following the event, in case of track and tracing people who may have contracted Covid-19.

Dancing at weddings in Italy this summer are permitted – but with time and/or distance limits. Photo: Edward Cisneros/Unsplash

What about the meal and dancing?

Aside from the two-metre distance between tables, there must also be a metre between each person at the same table, unless they live together.

As for the meal, no self-service buffet is permitted and only staff can serve guests.

Buffets in general are allowed, but only as long as no guests touch the food and everything is served by the venue’s employees. 

As for bopping to some tunes after the meal, guests are more likely to be dancing on their own than swaying arm in arm.

The good news is that dancing is allowed without time limits outside, but there must be a 1.2 metre radius per person.

Dancing will also be allowed indoors, but with a time limit of 15 minutes and only as long as 2 square metres are allocated per person.

If the party involves a live band, members must keep at least three metres away from the wedding party.

Wearing masks continues to be mandatory, for both guests and the newlyweds, although the government is looking at relaxing rules on masks, at least outdoors.

These must be at least surgical grade or higher and must be worn when it’s not possible to maintain at least one metre of distance from others.

Also obliged to wear masks are the venue staff. The photographer must also wear a mask if they get closer than 1 metre to others.

At the end of the ceremony, guests can’t help themselves to wedding favours. Instead, the wedding couple have to hand the gifts to their guests after using hand sanitiser.

What’s happening elsewhere in Europe with weddings?

Tying the knot has been on hold or restricted in other countries across Europe, but is now also resuming as the summer months approach – and if the epidemiological data is improving there.

In the UK, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will have no maximum number cap for attendees from June 21st.

Instead, “weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place”, according to the British government’s website.

In France, couples could say ‘I do’ again respecting social distancing from June and parties must adhere to the curfew.

Spanish couples walking down the aisle are having a different experience depending on which region they get married in, with some wedding parties going ahead without restrictions. Here’s how the rules differ in Spain and how they could affect wedding ceremonies and receptions there.

Find all the latest updates on the Covid-19 rules in Italy here.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”