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

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”?

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 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.


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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EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Venice is introducing a new system to discourage day-trippers in hopes of curbing problems with overtourism in the popular hotspot. Here is what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

After years of discussing a possible “tourist tax”, the city of Venice has confirmed it will make day-trippers pay from €3 to €10 for access to the city centre starting on January 16th.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the goal of the new tourism fee is to discourage day tourism at certain times of the year and encourage overnight tourism. Day-trippers will have to pay a fee, but those who stay overnight continue only to have to pay the city tax of €2 to €5, according to a government press release.

The Commission and the City Council will now examine the regulatory text for the final green light scheduled for the summer.

“We are the first in the world to introduce this system, and we are aware that not everything will work well from the beginning, but we will be ready to improve in the course of work. We want to guarantee the tourist the best quality of the visit and make sure that the city is able to give visitors all the services they need”, said Tourism Secretary Simone Venturini.

READ ALSO: After flooding and coronavirus, is it time Venice stopped relying on tourism?

How much will I have to pay?

The contributo di acesso, or access contribution, will cost from €3 to €10, depending on factors such as tourism numbers for the day and season.

The city will determine a certain threshold of tourists, after which people will be required to pay higher sums. Travellers are encouraged to book in advance to avoid price increases.

Does the payment have to be made in advance?

The government said that nobody would be denied entry to Venice, meaning a pre-registration is not necessary. However, the mayor said that those who book their visit in advance would be “rewarded”. The reward will likely discount the fee.

How will the system work? Where do I pay?

According to the City of Venice, the payment is an alternative to the city tax. It will be required from every person that goes to the old city centre of Venice, as well as other major tourist destinations and islands in the region.

READ ALSO: 16 surprising facts about Venice to mark 16 centuries of the lagoon city

A single payment guarantees access to the old town and the smaller islands.

Tourists will be able to pay through an online and “multilingual” platform where they will receive a QR code to present in case of controls. Tickets should also be available to buy in connection with public transport – so if you are arriving by train, it will be possible to buy the train ticket and the entry pass together.

Who is excluded or exempt from the payment?

There are several exceptions to the payment, according to the website. Among them are residents from the Comune di Venezia, those who work or study there, and those who own homes in the city.

Additionally, exceptions include those born in the Comune di Venezia, children under six years of age, people with disabilities and their accompanying person, public workers, volunteers, people visiting family members, prisoners, or attending funerals, and many others.

Residents of the Veneto region “up to the thresholds that will be set by a specific Council resolution” are also exempt.

Those who stay overnight and, therefore, already pay the city tax through their hotel or short-term rental booking are also exempt from the fee.

The city of Murano, in the metropolitan region of Venice (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

What about people arriving on cruises?

Venice is a very popular stop for cruise ships and people visiting the city on a cruise tour will also have to pay the fee as they disembark in the old town. However, the City of Venice said they might determine a lump-sum measure in agreement with the relevant carriers.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why more of Italy’s top destinations must limit tourist numbers

Which smaller islands are included?

Only one ticket and payment is required for those travelling to multiple islands, including Venice. The islands that are part of the group are:

  • Lido di Venezia
  • Pellestrina
  • Murano
  • Burano
  • Torcello
  • Sant’Erasmo
  • Mazzorbo
  • Mazzorbetto
  • Vignole
  • S. Andrea
  • La certosa
  • S. Servolo
  • S. Clemente
  • Poveglia

What if I simply don’t pay?

If you fail to produce proof of payment or that you are exempt from the fee, the sanction is from €50 to €300. The fine is the same in the case of people making false statements trying to obtain exemptions or reductions.

Additionally, visitors who don’t pay in advance will have to pay the full €10 fee.

For more info click here.