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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

Italy considers requiring Covid ‘green pass’ for public transport, schools and workplaces

As Italy prepares to make its ‘green pass’ health certificate a requirement for entry to many cultural and leisure venues from Friday, the government is now looking at also making it a necessary part of everyday life, including at work and school.

Italy considers requiring Covid 'green pass' for public transport, schools and workplaces
Health passes are expected to soon become a requirement on long-distance train journeys in Italy. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI/AFP

Italian goverment ministers are meeting on Tuesday for discussions on a timeline for further expanding the use of the certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ health certificate in August.

Italy is poised to begin expanding the scheme from Friday, August 6th, when the pass becomes a requirement for entry to venues including museums, theatres, cinemas, sports stadiums, gyms and indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants.

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

The certificate, which proves that the bearer has been vaccinated with at least one dose, has recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or has tested negative in the past 48 hours, will be required for anyone aged 12 and over.

The government is now expected to announce another decree making the pass a requirement for passengers on certain forms of public transport, including domestic flights, ferries and long-distance trains, later this month after a decision on this was delayed due to concerns about the potential impact on summer tourism.

While nothing has yet been confirmed, this is widely expected to become a requirement by the end of the month, with newspaper Il Corriere speculating that the date is likely to be August 30th.

The government is expected to make an announcement on Thursday or Friday.

 Photo: Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA/AFP

Discussions are also still ongoing about whether to make the pass a requirement in workplaces and schools, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi meeting for discussions with trade unions on Tuesday.

Union leaders have voiced concerns that making the pass mandatory for employees and applying sanctions would be “discriminatory”, news agency Ansa reports.

In schools, the rule would apply to staff as well as students over 12 years old. However, Italian media reports suggest that the green pass is unlikely to become a requirement in classrooms unless there’s a sharp increase in the infection rate.

READ ALSO: 

Around 90 percent of Italian school staff are now vaccinated, according to health ministry data. The government is still debating whether or not to make the jab mandatory ahead of the start of the next academic year in September.

Some 47 percent of people in Italy have already obtained their green pass, according to surveys carried out by business association Confesercenti, and another 20 percent are in the process of trying to obtain it, La Stampa reports.

However, 21 percent of those polled said they didn’t want the certificate and wouldn’t be getting it.

Business owners voiced concerns about having to check the passes and enforce the rules from Friday, and Confesercenti said it was asking the government to allow a sanction-free trial phase similar to that implemented in France.

At the moment, the rules state that from Friday business owners as well as customers could be hit with fines of between €400 and €1,000 if the health pass requirement is not enforced.

OPINION: Covid passports are Italy’s only choice – but they must be a right, not a privilege

With widespread reports of people experiencing technical difficulties and delays in accessing the pass, the government has updated the official website with new download options and said people can also continue to use paper certificates as proof until August 12th.

The government has also said the new decree will include a cap on the price of testing, which would be needed for anyone who has not been vaccinated to access the green pass.

For now, the cost of testing varies considerably around Italy, with rapid swab tests costing anything from €15 to €50 depending on which region you’re in and molecular (PCR) tests priced at up to €100.

Just over 60 percent of the Italian population aged over 12 is fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, though many people who want the jab are still reporting difficulties and delays in accessing it.

The government last week set a new target of having the entire population over 12 vaccinated by the end of September.

Find the latest updates in our green pass news section and further details on the official website (currently only available in Italian).

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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

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.

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