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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-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”