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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

UPDATE: Italy approves mandatory Covid ‘green pass’ in more workplaces

The Italian government has given the green light to a legislative decree that will extend the Covid-19 health pass to more workers in schools and healthcare facilities, while authorities prepare a roadmap to broaden the scheme to further employees.

UPDATE: Italy approves mandatory Covid 'green pass' in more workplaces
Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Italy’s ‘green pass’ has been made mandatory for cleaning companies and canteen staff working in schools and universities, as well as external workers in the healthcare sector.

The decision was made “to deal with the Covid-19 emergency in schools, higher education and social and health care facilities,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi is reported to have said during the cabinet meeting on Thursday.

The new decree contains the requirement for employees in these sectors to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery at workplaces under the certificazione verde or ‘green pass’ scheme.

“It is a first step,” stated officials, as cabinet ministers met to discuss making the Covid passport mandatory for more workplaces, which is expected to be gradually rolled out until October.

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

The next steps will be to extend the ‘green pass’ to places where it is already required by customers, including restaurant and bar staff, managers of cinemas and theatres, and sports instructors working in places such as swimming pools and gyms.

State employees and then, finally, private sector companies are next in line.

Drivers of local public transport will also be required to show their QR code as proof of meeting the ‘green pass’ requirements – as will those working on high-speed trains, ships, ferries and planes.

Employees in contact with the public, such as those behind the counter at train stations, may also have to follow the same protocol.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The final stage of the workplace health pass requirement is scheduled to encompass private sector workers, such as those in large factories and also small and medium-sized businesses.

The slower approach to expanding the green pass isn’t unanimously backed, however.

Secretary of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta told reporters that the “the majority of Italians” would prefer immediate and widespread coverage.

But Giuseppe Conte, the former prime minister who is now leader of the Five Star Movement, called for calm in the meeting, saying he hoped “that no further tensions will arise on other issues”.

“At the moment, the completion of the vaccination campaign is our priority objective,” he added.

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

Currently, the authorities have made no pledges to offer free swabs to private sector employees, partly amid concerns that this would be a disincentive to get vaccinated.

READ ALSO: Italy to extend ‘green pass’ validity from nine to twelve months

In response to a question on whether the State will bear the cost of these tests in future, the Minister of Labour Andrea Orlando, replied, “We will first decide what we want to do about the ‘green pass’ – then how to manage it, I think, is a matter for later.”

Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Self-employed workers are not currently among the categories being considered for the ‘green pass’ extension, unless they need to access public administration, such as a lawyer entering court, for example.

Those with medical reasons for being exempt from getting vaccinated would need to undergo regular testing to enter their place of work – although the government hasn’t yet announced that swabs for this category will be free of charge as they are for school staff.

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.

While the government is also considering whether to make Covid vaccinations obligatory for the entire population, it has pinned hopes on the scheme helping 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 Thursday stands at just under 73 percent, according to the latest government data.

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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