UPDATE: Italy makes Covid ‘green pass’ mandatory for restaurants, gyms, cinemas and more

Italy's Covid-19 vaccine passport will soon be required in order to access more leisure and cultural venues, including indoor restaurants under a new decree signed on Thursday.

UPDATE: Italy makes Covid 'green pass' mandatory for restaurants, gyms, cinemas and more
Photo: Alain Jocard/FP

The Italian government announced on Thursday evening that the use of the country’s certificazione verde or ‘green certificate’ health pass scheme will be extended from Friday August 6th.

People in Italy will soon need the pass to enter gyms, swimming pools, museums, cinemas, theatres, sports stadiums and other public venues, including indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants, Health Minister Roberto Speranza stated at a press conference.

The government had also discussed making the so-called green pass mandatory for domestic flights and long-distance trains, but this was not included in the decree, and will be discussed at a later date according to Italian media reports.

EXPLAINED: When, where and why will you need a Covid health passport in Italy?

Nightclubs are to remain closed completely, contrary to reopening plans suggested by government ministers in recent weeks.

Business owners are expected to enforce the rules, with the government stating that “a fine of between 400 and 1000 euros can be applied to both the operator and the customer” if rules are broken.

Repeated failure to enforce the rules could result in businesses being shut down for up to ten days.

A government press release also confirmed that the Italian green pass will continue to be made available to those who have only had one vaccine dose.

The government had been discussing whether or not to make the pass available in the case of vaccination only for those who are fully immunised – instead of 15 days after the first dose as is currently the case in Italy, but the rules will remain the same for now.

The Italian version of the EU-wide green pass has been in use since June 17th, but has so far only been needed for international travel within Europe, and within Italy to access care homes or large events like concerts, football matches and wedding receptions.

EXPLAINED: What people vaccinated in Italy need to do to get the Covid ‘green pass’ travel certificate

The nationwide state of emergency will meanwhile be extended until December 21st, the press release confirmed, allowing the government to continue to introduce health measures at short notice in the coming months.

Under the new decree, the Italian government has also changed the risk parameters to allow regions to stay in the low-restriction ‘white zone’ for longer despite the recent rise in new coronavirus infections, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi confirmed at the press conference.

Draghi stressed the importance of vaccinations to restarting the economy, and said the expansion of the green pass requirement was needed “for keeping economic activities open”.

“With the old parameters many regions would go back to the yellow zone, but instead they will stay in the white zone.”

READ ALSO: ‘No vaccines mean a new lockdown’: Italian PM Draghi slams anti-vax comments as he unveils plan to avoid new Covid restrictions

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Photo: Roberto Monaldo/POOL/AFP

Regions will now be classified based more on the number of people hospitalised or in intensive care due to Covid-19, rather than upon the number of infections as is currently the case.

The number of coronavirus cases detected in Italy has doubled in the past week as the country enters a fourth wave driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

On Thursday, Italy reported 5,057 new infections – up sharply from 4,259 on Wednesday.

Italy also recorded 15 more deaths from Covid-19, bringing the total to 127,920 since the pandemic began – the highest death toll in Europe after the UK.

As of Thursday, 52 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Who needs to use the ‘green pass’?

At the moment Italy’s digital health certificate is available to people who were vaccinated, tested or recovered in Italy.

Only children under two years old are exempt from the health pass requirement.

READ ALSO: How likely is Italy to change its restrictions on travel from the UK?

People from EU and Schengen zone countries, as well as the US, Canada and Japan, can also enter Italy and access venues under ‘green pass’ terms but need to show equivalent health documents issued in their own country. It is not yet known when the scheme may be expanded to visitors from other countries.

It appears likely that these rules will remain the same for visitors after the green pass scheme is expanded, however nothing about this was mentioned in Thursday’s announcement.

The announcement did not cover any future changes to Italy’s international travel restrictions, which are updated via separate ordinances from the Health Ministry.

Find further details about Italy’s green certificate on the official website (currently only available in Italian).

For more information about the current coronavirus situation and health measures in Italy please see the Health Ministry’s website (in English).


Italian government begins talks on Covid ‘super green pass’

Italy is set to tighten the rules on its health certificate scheme from December as Covid-19 contagion and hospitalisation rates continue to rise.

Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces.
Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces - but are the rules about to get stricter? Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Note: This article is no longer being updated. Please find the latest news here.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will hold a meeting with regional leaders on Monday evening, beginning several days of talks on a new government decree which is expected to be announced by Friday, reports national broadcaster Rai.

As the health situation has worsened across Italy in recent weeks – particularly in the north-eastern regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and the autonomous province of Bolzano – leaders of local governments are increasingly pushing for new measures, mainly in the form of further restrictions on the unvaccinated under a so-called “super green pass” scheme.

KEY POINTS: Italy’s new plans to contain the Covid fourth wave

Italy began rolling out its health certificate or ‘green pass’ for domestic use in August, initially making it a requirement at many leisure and cultural venues such as cinemas and indoor restaurants, before extending its use to workplaces and some forms of public transport. 

The certificate shows that the bearer has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has recovered from the disease within the last six months, or has tested negative in the last few days.

Instead, the proposed ‘super green pass’ would only be issued to those who are vaccinated or recovered, with passes issued based on testing in future only valid for entry to workplaces.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

While no concrete decisions have yet been made, sources within the health ministry have indicated that it is considering the measure for any region declared a higher-risk ‘orange’ zone.

“Closures and restrictions must not be paid for by the vaccinated,” said Health Undersecretary Andrea Costa, adding that the ‘super green pass’ plan would “guarantee the unvaccinated access to workplaces and basic needs, but certain activities such as going to a restaurant, cinema or theatre should be reserved for the vaccinated if the situation worsens.”

“It is clear that we must bring in new initiatives,” he said in an interview with Sky TG24 on Sunday.

EXPLAINED: Will Italy bring in a Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated?

At the moment all of Italy remains in the lowest-risk ‘white’ zone, with few health measures in place.

However several regions are now nearing the thresholds at which they would be moved into the ‘yellow’ zone next week, and – if the situation continues to worsen – then risk being placed under orange zone restrictions two weeks later.

Costa said a planned third dose obligation for health workers “is already foreseen and I think it will be approved this week.”

Health Minister Roberto Speranza put forward proposals last week to make third doses obligatory for the healthcare staff already subject to a vaccine requirement, and also to cut the validity of Italy’s Covid-19 health certificate – the so-called green pass – from 12 to nine months for people who are vaccinated, including with a third dose.

READ ALSO: Italy to start Covid boosters for over-40s on Monday as infection rate rises

The changes have not yet been formally approved, but are expected to come in from December 1st under the planned new decree set to be signed into law by the end of the week.

Other measures the government is reportedly considering include cutting the validity of green passes based on PCR test results from 72 to 48 hours, and those from the results of rapid testing will be reduced from 48 to 24 hours.

There have also been calls from health experts and regional leaders to stop issuing green passes based on rapid test results altogether, as these are less reliable than the results of a PCR test.