SHARE
COPY LINK

SKIING

Italy’s ski season begins with Covid green pass rules in place

Italy’s ski slopes have begun reopening with hopes that Covid-19 passes and other health measures will be enough to prevent closures this year.

Ski lifts in Italy require a health pass.
Ski lifts in Italy require a health pass this year. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Some of Italy’s biggest ski resorts opened for the new season on Wednesday, with Covid-19 green passes required when using ski lifts, social distancing measures in place at entrances and online booking required in some areas.

While Italy’s government did not specify that the green pass would be required on slopes or to take ski lifts this winter, this is one of the rules agreed in a protocol signed last month by Italy’s winter sports federation, association of chairlift operators and association of ski instructors.

The green pass requirement applies to everyone aged over 12 when accessing lifts, capacity is reduced to 80 percent for closed cable cars (open chairlifts can operate at full capacity), and masks are a requirement in all “common areas”, the protocol states.

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

Italy’s Covid health certificate demonstrates that the holder has either been vaccinated, has recovered from the virus recently or has tested negative.

In the popular ski resort of Cervinia, on the Swiss border, local police and staff were checking green passes and identity documents and no crowds or problems were reported as the lifts opened for the start of the season on Wednesday morning, according to the AGI news agency.

Cervinia has also made it compulsory to buy ski passes online, though this is only a recommendation under the protocol.

At the moment in Cervinia it is only possible to ski on the Plateau Rosa and on the Swiss side, while slopes on the Italian side are still being prepared.

The Swiss government agreed with resorts on Tuesday that that health certificates will not be required on the country’s slopes or to take chairlifts.

In France, the health minister has said he is considering whether to make the health pass compulsory for using ski lifts.

Under rules set by the Italian government, the pass is a requirement for all customers aged over 12 at indoor bars and restaurants. Though not a requirement to enter hotels or accommodation, the pass is needed when accessing hotel restaurants and facilities such as spas.

In addition to the health pass requirement, the standard Italian health rules on masks and distancing will also be in place at all businesses.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS