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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

Italy set to make Covid ‘green pass’ mandatory in more workplaces

The Italian government is preparing to further extend its Covid-19 health pass scheme, making it a requirement for employees at all public sector workplaces as well as potentially at key businesses in the private sector including supermarkets.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The Italian government is this week drawing up a new decree containing a requirement for employees in certain workplaces to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery at workplaces under the certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ scheme.

No further details on the expansion had been confirmed on Wednesday, with the debate over the details of the decree continuing in parliament.

Cabinet ministers are set to meet on Thursday to finalise the decree, though it is not yet clear when the new rule would come into force.

READ ALSO: ‘More vaccines or new closures’: Italy to decide on mandatory jabs this month, say ministers

Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa previously 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.”

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 became a requirement for teachers and other school staff, while healthcare workers in Italy were already legally required to be fully vaccinated before the pass was introduced.

Most political parties within Italy’s coalition government have voiced support for the scheme, as have trade unions and industry associations.

READ ALSO: How Italy has tightened the ’green pass’ rules in September

Italian employers’ confederation Confindustria has said it is in favour of making the green pass obligatory for private sector workers, but that the goverment must make Covid-testing free for employees.

Meanwhile the head of supermarket chain Conad said he was “very much in favour” of the move and that if employees don’t want the vaccine “I think the right thing would be [for them] to take unpaid leave”.

The governmen hopes the expansion of the scheme will help Italy reach the target of vaccinating 80 percent of the population over the age of 12 by the end of September. The current figure as of Tuesday stands at 72 percent, according to the latest government data.

The Italian government is also considering whether to make Covid vaccinations obligatory for the entire population amid the push to meet national immunisation targets this month.

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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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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