Italy considers extending Covid green pass requirement to all key workers and state employees

The Italian government is this week considering further expanding its Covid-19 health pass scheme, with the document already required at many leisure venues across the country.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Italy is looking at making it a requirement for employees to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery at workplaces including public offices and supermarkets under new plans to further expand the certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ scheme.

Q&A: Your questions answered about Italy’s new Covid health pass

According to reports in Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said the ‘green pass’ should be made compulsory for staff “where the continuity of a service must be guaranteed, for example local public transport operators, employees of supermarkets and essential services, or those that have been operational during lockdown.”

“Employees of municipal and public offices will also have to return to normality, and in presence,” he added.

“They have a responsibility to guarantee a service to the country in contact with the public. It is not acceptable that in some areas they are still closed or staff are working remotely.”

The digital pass has been required since August 6th in order to enter many cultural and leisure venues across Italy, including museums, theatres, gyms, and indoor seating in restaurants.  

From September 1st the digital pass will be a requirement for teachers and other school staff, while healthcare workers in Italy are legally required to be fully vaccinated.


Italy passed a law in April obliging anyone working in public or private social health positions, including in pharmacies and doctors’ offices, to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or be suspended without pay, unless their employer can reassign them to a less sensitive position.

Following the health ministry’s suggestion this week of making the green pass a requirement for employees across more sectors, several prominent politicians as well as trade union leaders in Italy voiced support for the idea.

Leader of the Democratic Party leader Enrico Letta said he was “in favour of maximum use of the green pass”.
Luigi Sbarra, head of the CISL confederation of Italian trade unions, meanwhile said he was in favour of making vaccines mandatory, adding: “There is only one way out of the emergency.”

Discussions about further expanding the scheme are in the early stages, and no date has been suggested for any changes to come into force.

The Italian government had considered making the pass a requirement in more workplaces from September 1st, but a decision on this was delayed.

Plans to expand the use of the green pass to everyday venues and workplaces have previously faced criticism from some health experts who point out that many people face long waits for vaccination appointments, while testing is usually not available free of charge.

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

Many people who have been vaccinated in Italy are also reporting that they are unable to access their passes due to missing access codes and other technical and bureaucratic problems.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said the use of the green pass scheme is the only alternative to a new lockdown, while ministers also hope the expansion of the scheme will help Italy reach the target of vaccinating everyone over the age of 12 by the end of September – a goal that has become more distant with a significant recent slowdown in the vaccination rate.

The number of vaccine doses administered in Italy has been around 200,000 a day on average since August 16th – less than half the daily figure recorded a month earlier.

The current number is the lowest Italy has seen since mid-March this year, when the vaccination effort was repeatedly hindered by delays and supply issues.

Only around 13 percent of the Italian population aged over 12 has not yet been vaccinated, newspaper Il Corriere della Sera reports.

Find the latest updates in our green pass news section and further details 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).

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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.