EXPLAINED: Who can and can’t ask to see your Covid-19 green pass in Italy?

EXPLAINED: Who can and can’t ask to see your Covid-19 green pass in Italy?
When is a Covid digital certificate required in Italy? Photo: Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum / Unsplash
The EU’s Covid certificate is now in use across the bloc, but when you need to show it can vary from country to country. Once you’re over the Italian border, when can and can’t you be asked to show the “green pass”?

The EU Digital Covid Certificate, which proves you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid-19, is primarily designed to facilitate quarantine-free travel between member states. (Find out how to get one in Italy here.)

But the certificates – which are issued by each country according to their own rules – have uses beyond crossing borders. 

READ ALSO: How does the new EU Covid certificate work for travel and how do I get one?

In Austria, Switzerland and parts of Germany, for instance, customers can be asked to show a health pass when visiting restaurants, bars, gyms and hairdressers. France will require it at concerts, festivals and other big public events, while Sweden does not have plans to use it domestically at all.

Italy has its own rules about who can – and can’t – ask to see your certificazione verde, or green pass. Here’s when you might need to show it, and when you shouldn’t have to.

Who can ask to see your Covid certificate in Italy?

  • Border control

Since the main purpose of the pass is travel, it’s no surprise that the first place you’ll be asked to show it in Italy is at the border. The certificate entitles you to enter Italy without having to quarantine.

READ ALSO: EU Covid certificate: What are the different entry rules in place around Europe?

Italy also states that the green pass is required to travel in and out of any regions designated high-risk ‘orange’ or ‘red’ zones; currently no regions fall into this category, but if the health situation changes the certificate would be required for certain domestic travel too.

According to Italy’s government decree of June 17th, which sets out the operational rules for the certificazione verde, public officials are allowed to ask to see the pass “in the exercise of their duties”. That can include police at borders or road checkpoints.

  • Transport crew

Airlines, ferry staff, cruise companies and train crew are also allowed to check passengers’ Covid  certificates as part of the controls on travel into and around Italy. 

  • Care homes 

To protect their residents, nursing homes and other care facilities can require visitors to show a Covid pass before entering the premises.

  • Venues hosting weddings, concerts, sporting events and fairs

According to the Italian Health Ministry, having a green pass will “facilitate” entry to large gatherings such as “trade fairs, concerts, sporting competitions, celebrations of religious or civil ceremonies” and the like. 

While that phrasing suggests that it’s optional, the government has already made a health certificate a requirement for guests to attend wedding receptions. For concerts, fair and sports events currently it’s up to organisers to decide if they ask to see the pass, but the government’s decree gives them the right to do so.

The legislation states that venue owners, managers or their staff may ask to see patrons’ certificates.

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

Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP
  • Nightclubs?

The government is considering allowing discos and nightclubs to reopen if they require customers to show a green pass at the door, but has not yet confirmed the plan. A final decision is expected in the first half of July.

Who can’t ask to see your Covid certificate in Italy?

  • Hotels

Asked to clarify the rules, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza stated that hotels would not be allowed to ask guests to show the green pass (unless it’s to attend a wedding reception on the premises).

That means that being vaccinated, tested or recently recovered should not be a condition to book accommodation in Italy.

Some hotels have begun offering guests free Covid tests as part of their services, but these are supposed to be optional incentives rather than a requirement to stay there.

  • Restaurants and bars

Speranza also clarified that restaurants cannot ask patrons to produce a Covid certificate.

There are already safety measures in place to protect diners in Italy, including social distancing and a limit on the number of people who can share a table indoors (six). Establishments can also choose to measure customers’ temperature and collect their contact details for tracing purposes.

Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP
  • Shops

Likewise, shops will not be asking customers for a health pass. The usual rules on maximum capacity, face masks and social distancing continue to apply.

  • Cinemas and theatres

Theatres and cinemas have been allowed to open since April, provided that audiences wear face masks and leave around half of all seats empty.

They can continue to operate under the same rules, with no need to ask customers for a Covid certificate.

READ ALSO: 

What data is shared when you show your Covid certificate in Italy?

Scanning the QR code on a Covid certificate will bring up only the need-to-know information: your name, when and where you were vaccinated, tested or certified to have recovered, and confirmation that the document is genuine.

It will not share your health records, contact details or other personal information. 

According to Italy’s rules, the person checking your pass is allowed to ask you to show a piece of ID if they choose, but they cannot collect or store any of your data.


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