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COVID-19 RULES

EXPLAINED: Where do you now need to show a Covid green pass in Italy?

The rules around where, when, and now what kind of green pass is required in Italy have changed repeatedly in recent weeks. Here's a complete list of the current contexts in which you’ll need a Covid health certificate.

A visitor shows his Covid-19 certificates for scanning before entering the Vatican Museums in the Vatican.
A visitor shows his Covid-19 certificates for scanning before entering a museum. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

What is the ‘green pass’?

The basic Italian Covid-19 health certificate, often referred to as a ‘green pass’, proves bearers have either been vaccinated with at least one dose, recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or tested negative for the virus in the last two to three days (depending on the type of test taken).

Those who don’t have the basic Italian health pass or an equivalent recognised by the Italian authorities (see our ‘Equivalent passes’ section below) need to get tested in Italy or elsewhere in the EU in order to claim a  pass that remains valid for 48 or 72 hours.

READ ALSO: How can you get Italy’s ‘green pass’ if you’re not vaccinated?

This pass can be downloaded along with a QR code to a mobile phone or printed out for those who prefer a paper copy.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the green pass requirement, but the rules apply to everyone over that age, including tourists and non-resident visitors.

Currently, the basic green pass is all that’s required to access any venue or service in Italy.

However, that all is set to change from December 6th, when Italy will introduce the ‘super green pass‘:

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How will Italy’s Covid restrictions change in December?

What is the ‘super green pass’?

On November 24th, Italy’s parliament unanimously approved a new decree tightening the country’s Covid restrictions and introducing the ‘super green pass’ requirement, which will come into force from December 6th.

The super green pass functions in exactly the same way as the basic green pass, but can only be obtained by those who have been vaccinated against or have recovered from Covid – not those who have recently tested negative for the virus.

From December 6th, the super green pass will be required to access most venues and services in Italy.

READ ALSO: Q&A: How will Italy’s new Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

The basic green pass will remain in place, but will only be valid for certain essential uses such as accessing the workplace.

The new law also introduces some new situations where a basic green pass will be required.

Here’s our updated guide for when and where you’ll need the green pass and the super green pass.

Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

Public transport:

Since September 1st, the green pass has been obligatory for passengers using interregional public transport, including trains, domestic flights and ferries, as well as international services.

From December 6th, that requirement will be extended to city buses, trams, and other forms of local public transport, as well as regional trains.

However, it appears as though only a basic green pass, and not a super green pass, will be required for all types of public transport – meaning a pass obtained through a recent negative test result will suffice.

All passengers on high-speed train services and on Intercity services will have their pass verified along with their tickets on board the train.

READ ALSO: How long will Italy keep the Covid green pass requirement in place?

Passengers who can’t show a valid pass can be asked to move to an area reserved for passengers without a green pass and will then have to get off at the next stop, according to national rail operator Trenitalia.

In the case of local public transport, random spot checks will be carried out by ticket conductors, but passengers will not individually have their passes checked on every journey (as should be the case for long-distance transport).

Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Leisure and culture:

Since August 6th, the green pass has been required to enter:

  • Performances open to the public, sporting events and competitions (that includes football matches in open-air stadiums).
  • Museums, exhibitions and other cultural sites and spaces.
  • Indoor swimming pools, sports centres, gyms and spas (including within private commercial accommodation – so your hotel will ask to see your green pass before you enter any indoor leisure facilities).
  • Festivals, fairs, and conferences.
  • Theme parks and amusement parks.
  • Indoor activities in cultural, social and recreational centres, with the exception of educational centers for children and summer day centres.
  • Gaming rooms, betting rooms, bingo halls and casinos.
  • Ski slopes and ski lifts. Though not mandated by the government, operators of winter sports facilities have chosen to require all visitors to show a green pass this season.

EXPLAINED: What are the Covid rules on Italian ski slopes this winter?

This requirement remains in place, but from December 6th only the super green pass will be valid to access these ‘non-essential’ activities.

Failing to check the pass can earn both customers and venues a fine from €400 to €1,000, with businesses that repeatedly break the rules risk being forced to close for up to ten days. 

Bars and restaurants:

Since August 6th, the green pass has been required in indoor seating areas at bars and restaurants, but has not been required to eat or drink in outdoor seating areas.

From December 6th, a super green pass will be required to eat indoors at any establishment – but it remains the case that no health certificate is necessary if you want to eat or drink outside.

Likewise, it appears that you will still be able to drink your espresso standing at the counter of a café without showing any kind of health pass: it’s only if you want to sit at a table indoors that you’ll need it. Just remember to keep your face mask on when you’re not sipping.

In the least restricted ‘white’ zone (currently all of Italy), there is no limit on how many people can sit at a table, whereas in the more restricted ‘yellow’ zone (which can be introduced in provinces if there are localised outbreaks), restaurants can currently seat a maximum of four people to a table, regardless of who has a green pass and whether the table is indoors or outdoors.

The ‘super green pass’ is expected to change this, as the government says recreational activities will be able to go on as normal for those in possession of the pass – even if they are in a ‘yellow’ or even more restricted ‘orange’ zone.

Hotels

From December 6th, a green pass will be required to stay in Italy’s hotels – one of the few venues that until now have been exempted from health certificate requirements.

However, in this case the basic green pass is all that’s required, meaning that anyone can access the facilities provided they have a recent negative test result.

Schools and universities:

Since August 6th, university students across Italy have been required to show a green pass to enter university premises.

On September 1st, that requirement was expanded to include all school and university employees including teachers and support staff; and on September 9th, it was further extended to external workers in schools and universities, such as cleaning company and canteen staff, as well as parents of schoolchildren.

READ ALSO: Parents in Italy to require Covid green pass to enter schools

School staff who failed to show their pass for five days straight were warned they would be suspended and have their pay frozen, while non-staff faced fines of up to €1,000 for entering without the pass.

From December 15th, that changes once again, as the new law stipulates that school employees, including teachers and administrative staff, must be vaccinated in order to do their jobs.

The measure is a key part of the government’s strategy to ensure that pupils can learn in person, after constantly changing Covid restrictions kept them in and out of classrooms for much of the past 18 months.

Photo: Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Workplaces:

In addition to expanding the requirements for schools, on October 15th the Covid-19 green pass was extended to all areas of public and private work.

The law requires all public, private, and self-employed workers across the country to produce a health certificate showing that they are vaccinated, recovered or have proof of a recent negative coronavirus test in order to enter any workplace.

The latest decree of November 24th does not change this requirement, and the basic green pass will remain valid for accessing the workplace – meaning workers do not necessarily need to be vaccinated against or recovered from Covid to do their jobs, though those who aren’t require a negative test result.

However, from December 15th, the categories of workers subject to a vaccine mandate will be expanded to include administrative staff working in healthcare facilities and care homes, police officers, members of the military, and emergency services workers (as well as school staff).

Vaccines have already been compulsory in Italy since April for anyone working in public or private social health positions, including in pharmacies and doctors’ offices. 

Workers in all other categories who fail to produce a basic green pass cannot be fired, but they could be fined or suspended without pay.

All employees across the public and private sectors without a green pass face penalties of between €600 and €1,500, and salaries will be frozen from the first day that they are without the certificate. Employers are subject to fines of between €400 and €1,000 for failing to uphold the rules.

READ ALSO: How Italy is enforcing the new workplace green pass rules

Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

Places where you still don’t need a health pass:

As touched on above, you don’t need any kind of green pass to eat or drink outdoors at a restaurant, or have a drink while standing at a bar, provided you keep your mask on when you’re not sipping.

You also don’t need one to go shopping or to go to the hairdresser.

Those carrying out their jobs from home or ‘smart working’ won’t need a green pass, as it’s only required to access workplaces. However, the Government has stated that agile working cannot be used to avoid getting a green pass.

How long does your green pass last?

The duration varies according to the type of certificate you have.

The super green pass lasts for:

  • Nine months after completion of the vaccination cycle;
  • Nine months if recovered from Covid-19 and with one dose of vaccine;
  • Six months from the date of end of isolation for those recovered from Covid.

The basic green pass lasts for

  • 72 hours after PCR negative test result;
  • 48 hours after a negative rapid antigenic swab result.

Equivalent passes: 

You may not need the Italian version of the health pass for travel and leisure purposes, depending on which country you’re visiting from.

Italy recognises all equivalent health passes from other EU countries and proof of immunisation issued from any of these five non-EU countries, including on paper.

That means visitors just need to carry the official proof of vaccination issued by your home country, such as a CDC-approved vaccination card from the US, a provincial immunisation card from Canada or an NHS vaccination certificate from the UK.

Member comments

  1. I’ve just arrived to our retirement home a couple of days ago. I haven’t tested our NY USA apps yet but I’ve been told of Canadian tourists with only paper vaccine documents being turned away at every museum and restaurant they try. What a disappointment for them a d a real lack of communication from the officials to the locals who are enforcing these rules with their interpretations.

  2. During a ten-day stay in Rome in October, my husband and I had no problems when we showed our CDC vaccination cards to enter restaurants, coffee bars and museums, with one exception: our favorite coffee bar wouldn’t let us sit down because they believed they could accept only the digital green pass with a scannable QR code.

    I don’t suppose there’s anything one can do in a situation like this other than accept the establishment’s policy, knowing that it’s based on wrong information. But it’s frustrating!

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COVID-19 RULES

What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

Italy is a dream destination for many people, but the spike in Covid-19 cases this summer means visitors could still run into problems. Here is what you need to know.

What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

Italy is full of unique destinations, from beautiful beaches to millennium-old architecture. No wonder the country gets so many visitors every year, especially during the summer months.

However, coronavirus infection rates are increasing in the country. Some regions, including Lazio, where Rome is located, and Veneto, the home of Venice, are classified by the Health Ministry as high risk.

With that in mind, here is what you should know about the pandemic in Italy and what to do in case you test positive.

What are the current entry rules?

First things first: what do you even need to enter Italy? Are there any coronavirus restrictions? The answer is no.

Travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism, is currently allowed without restrictions from all countries. In addition, since June, Italy has scrapped the requirement to show proof of coronavirus vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test from travellers.

There is also no need to fill in any online forms.

What restrictions do exist?

The main Covid-related restriction you will find in Italy is a strict face mask mandate for all forms of public transport, except for flights (domestic and international). These rules should remain in place at least until the end of September.

The masks required are the higher-grade FFP2 masks, and you should wear them on buses, trains, taxis, and all forms of public and shared transport.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Face masks also remain obligatory in hospitals, care homes and other healthcare facilities.

However, there is no need to wear face masks in public open or indoor public spaces – though it is recommended, especially in crowded areas.

Where can I get tested?

If you want to be on the safe side or have any coronavirus symptoms, it is possible to get tested in Italy.

If you need to get tested while in Italy because you suspect you may have Covid-19, you must minimise your contact with anyone else.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

The Italian health ministry says you should isolate yourself where you’re staying and call a doctor, Italy’s nationwide Covid hotline (1500), or the regional helpline where you are (complete list here) for assistance.

They will help you arrange an emergency test. Do not go to a medical centre or pharmacy in the meantime.

If you do not have symptoms, tests can be carried out without a prescription at Italy’s airports, pharmacies, labs, testing centres, or even at your accommodation via private doctors.

READ ALSO: The essential Italian phrases you need to know for getting tested and vaccinated

Fast antigen tests are also widely available in pharmacies in Italy.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in Italy must undergo at least one week of isolation. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP

What are the self-isolation rules if I test positive?

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and also boosted or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

READ ALSO: Italy to keep quarantine rules in place as Covid cases rise

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine to be allowed out. If you keep testing positive after that, you may stop isolation only at the end of 21 days.

Italy has one of the strictest self-isolation rules, so keep that in mind if you plan your summer holidays here.

Where can I self-isolate?

That will depend. You might be able to stay in your existing accommodation but might also be required to transfer to a state hospital or other government-provided accommodation. Check with the local authorities.

Additionally, you may need to fund accommodation – if only to extend your hotel stay, for example.

What if I need treatment?

If you are an EU citizen, your country’s healthcare can cover state treatments. The same if you are a UK citizen and hold an EHIC or GHIC. The e-card, European health card, EHIC or GHIC will not cover private treatments, though.

If you are a third-country citizen, you must check exactly what your travel insurance covers. In general, people travelling to Europe from abroad are recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical treatments, and you might also be insured through a credit or debit card. So, it is worth checking and planning.

Where can I get more information?

The Italian Health Ministry has a Covid-19 hot site in English for travellers where you can find helpful contact and the latest restrictions and information.

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