‘Green pass’ and no masks: How Italy is planning to reopen nightclubs this summer

As Italy continues to ease its Covid-19 restrictions, the government made plans on Tuesday to address the question of restarting nightlife.

'Green pass' and no masks: How Italy is planning to reopen nightclubs this summer
Photo by Antoine Julien on Unsplash

With seven regions now in the ‘white’ zone, and most remaining Covid-19 restrictions soon to be relaxed elsewhere, reopening discos and nightclubs is now on the government’s agenda.

These are set to be the last venues allowed to reopen under Italy’s roadmap, and as summer begins the government has not yet given a date or outlined the rules for restarting.

READ ALSO: What is Italy’s ‘green pass’ for travel and how do you get it?

Italian health ministry officials are set to meet with the industry’s union (SILB, sindacato italiano dei locali da ballo) on Tuesday, news agency Adnkronos reports.

“We are ready to cooperate to reopen discos and dance clubs in complete safety,” Maurizio Pasca, the national president of Silb, told the news outlet.

This could mean requiring members of the public to show a so-called ‘green pass‘ health document to access the venues according to the Union president.

“We will ask for the reopening with the green pass… In short, we are ready to create ‘safety bubbles’ in dance clubs,” he added.

The health pass or certificato verde is expected to be a requirement for travel and attending events in Italy this summer, however the government has not yet given full details of how the scheme will work.

It is expected to be operational by the end of June, and will be available to anyone who has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or has recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on how the EU’s ‘Covid passports’ will work for travellers?

A passenger poses with her coronavirus (Covid-19) test certificate. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

Although ‘white zone‘ regions can drop most of Covid-19 restrictions such as the evening curfew, it’s still forbidden to hold house parties or to dance in discos.

Pasca stated that it’s key to “reopen safely” because young people are going to gather anyway.

“Otherwise, three million young people, especially at weekends, will crowd the discos when they are closed, they will gather in the squares or in uncontrolled places. Better (to do so) in the discos where there is control,” he added.

As for the question of wearing masks on the dance floor, it “would be impossible to make it compulsory to wear a mask”, the president of nightclub association Asso Intrattenimento, Luciano Zanchi told news agency Ansa.

“Let it be clear that our job is to get people together. People come to discos to socialise because they are places that welcome people, so it is not possible to wear a mask on the dance floor, where people dance and sweat,” stated Zanchi.

“We are very much in favour of green pass entry and tracking, so only people with antibodies or otherwise tested negative would enter the clubs,” he added.

Pasca, on the other hand, has taken a more conservative line and is in favour of keeping masks and removing them at the bar or while drinking or eating at the table.

READ ALSO: How to prove you have recovered from Covid-19 in Italy

Junior health minister Andrea Costa recommended a gradual reopening of discos and nightclubs from July, but with a different approach from last year, such as setting distancing rules.

“Telling young people to dance apart sounds like a joke, so more realistic criteria should be used,” he told Adnkronos.

Deciding on the best course of action for summer nightlife comes after videos of people gathering and dancing on Italy’s beaches were posted on social media, such as crowds of partygoers in Monopoli, a summer hotspot in Puglia.

But beach management association Assobalneari claimed that these are isolated cases and that in general the rules are respected.

National manager Fabrizio Licordari told Ansa, “We are in solidarity with other businesses that are still closed and willing to accept that no dancing is allowed on the beaches as long as it is possible to do it in discos.”

Italy’s ‘green pass’ is currently in paper format and a digital version is expected when the EU-wide travel pass scheme is launched.

Deputy Health Minister Pierpaolo Sileri said on Sunday that the government could offer free tests to families with children under 12, in order to obtain the pass.

As for nightclubs, he said: “I am not a disco guy, but if we have the green pass we have to believe in it, because it gives you access to more freedom and therefore we have to get to the point where you can go back to dancing by having the green pass.”

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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.”