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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.