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COVID-19 RULES

Just over half of Italians support green pass requirement for workers, says study

Some 55% of Italy’s population is in favour of a new law which will require all workers to produce a Covid-19 health certificate or 'green pass' to enter the workplace from October 15th, surveys show

Protesters hold an Italian flag as they take part in a demonstration against the green pass in Piazza del Popolo in Rome on July 24, 2021.
Protesters hold an Italian flag as they take part in a demonstration against the green pass in Piazza del Popolo in Rome on July 24, 2021. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

The report, conducted by the EngageMinds Hub research centre at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, sampled the views of 6,000 people from across the country.

It concludes Italians are deeply divided on the issue, with just 56% of those surveyed saying they believe the Covid-19 health certificate is an effective tool in reducing the risk of infections.

The green pass proves bearers have either been vaccinated with at least one dose, have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or have tested negative in the previous 48 hours (for rapid antigen tests) or 72 hours (for molecular PCR tests).

The over-60s are the demographic most in favour of the green pass, while only half of those under the age of 34 approve of its use, the report says.

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

“Our latest survey shows that the green pass, approved by just over 50% of Italians, does not reach the basis for full social consensus,” said centre director Guendalina Graffigna, a professor of health and consumer psychology.

“From the data emerge large pockets of the population that remain uncertain about the usefulness of the green certificate and the requirement for its use.”

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the green pass at Piazza Duomo in Milan on July 24, 2021. The placard reads "Green Pass No, Freedom Yes".

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the green pass at Piazza Duomo in Milan on July 24, 2021. The placard reads “Green Pass No, Freedom Yes”. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

“People who show signs of fatigue, frustration and distrust of the system, an attitude that in the long term can become problematic”.

The requirement to show a green pass has already been in place since September 1st for schoolteachers and university and care home staff, and for anyone wanting to use long-distance interregional public transport.

The health certificate has been obligatory since August 6th for anyone wanting to enter most cultural, entertainment and leisure venues in the country, and to dine indoors at restaurants.

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

Workers can opt to get tested instead of receiving the vaccine, but from Friday those who wish to remain unvaccinated must pay for a test every two to three days.

Rapid antigen tests are capped at €15 in certain pharmacies participating in a government scheme to keep prices down for workers, though may cost more at non-participating pharmacies.

Those who fail to produce a green pass cannot be fired, but they could be fined or suspended without pay.

Employees who fail to produce a pass face penalties of between €600 and €1,500, and salaries will be frozen from the first day they show up to work without the certificate. Employers are subject to fines of between €400 and €1,000 for failing to uphold the rules.

A 10,000 person-strong protest against the new rules held in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo on Saturday descended into violence as leaders of the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party occupied the offices of the CGIL trade union and attempted to launch an attack on Palazzo Chigi, the official residence of the Italian prime minister.

A protest against the green pass in central Rome on October 9, 2021 descended into violence and clashes with police.

A protest against the green pass in central Rome on October 9, 2021 descended into violence and clashes with police. Tiziana FABI / AFP

READ ALSO: Analysis: What’s behind Italy’s anti-vax protests and neo-fascist violence?

Clashes with police left 38 officers injured and buildings ransacked. Twelve Forza Nuova leaders were arrested, and multiple Italian politicians and public figures have called for the party to be disbanded.

Despite having been offered the possibility of free Covid tests, dock workers in Trieste are now threatening to go on strike against the rules by blocking all activities in their port, a major hub in the northeast, from October 15th.

Meanwhile, there are concerns violence could break out again next Saturday, when the anti-pass movement is planning further protests and unions are preparing for a big anti-fascist rally in Rome. 

READ ALSO: Fears of ‘chaos’ as Italy set to adopt tough Covid green pass regime

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COVID-19 RULES

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.

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