Italy extends Covid ‘green pass’ requirement to all workplaces

Italy extends Covid 'green pass' requirement to all workplaces
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
Italy on Thursday approved a new law making its Covid-19 health certificate obligatory for all employees in both the public and private sectors in a bid to boost vaccination coverage and keep infection rates down.

The law, which will require all workers to show that they are vaccinated, recovered or have proof of a recent negative coronavirus test, will come into effect on October 15th.

 “We’re extending the ‘green pass’ obligation to the entire world of work, both public and private,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza told a press conference after the government took the decision on Thursday evening.

 “And we’re doing it for two basic reasons: to make these places safer and make our vaccination campaign stronger,” Speranza said.

EXPLAINED: How Italy will enforce the new ‘green pass’ rules in workplaces

The pass is a certificate that shows whether someone has been vaccinated against Covid-19,  tested negative in the previous 48 hours, or recently recovered from the virus.

It is currently mandatory for customers at leisure venues such as cinemas and sports stadiums, long-distance trains and buses or domestic flights.

Just over 40 million people are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus inItaly, roughly equivalent to 75 percent of the population over the age of 12.

The government aims to boost that figure to 80 percent by September 30th.

Under the new law, workers failing to produce a pass will face fines of up to 1,000 euros ($1,200), according to media reports. 

Unjustified absences due to failure to secure a pass could lead to the employee being suspended, they said.

A health pass requirement is already in place for employees in certain sectors in Italy.

On September 1st, Italy made the green pass mandatory for teachers and other school staff, as well as for parents entering school premises, before expanding the requirement on September 9th to employees of cleaning and catering companies working in schools and universities as well as to external workers in the healthcare sector.

Separately, Italy has since April mandated vaccines for anyone working in public or private social health positions, including in pharmacies and doctors’ offices. 

Italy’s FNOMCeO medical association told AFP Thursday that 728 doctors have been suspended for not being vaccinated.

Hundreds of other health workers have also faced suspension, with many appealing the decision unsuccessfully.

Among teaching staff, 93.1 percent have been completely vaccinated or have received at least a first dose, while another 6.7 percent are awaiting a first dose or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson jab, according to the government.

READ ALSO: Almost all hospitalised Covid-19 patients in Italy are unvaccinated, says health watchdog

The government’s decision concerns “a total of 23 million workers, the country’s entire human capital,” said Renato Brunetta, the public administration minister.

Italy is not the first European country to oblige workers to either bevaccinated or take regular tests.

Since September 13th, unvaccinated employees in the private and public sectors in Greece have had to be tested at their own expense once or twice a week, depending on profession.

In Slovenia, the health pass has been mandatory at work since Wednesday.

In France, the pass is required for workers who are in contact with the public.

Find the latest updates in our green pass news section and further details on the official website (currently only available in Italian).


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