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

Ski slopes in Veneto, Italy.
If you're skiing in Italy this year don't forget your health pass. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
After two difficult years, the Italian ski industry has picked itself up and is now opening for the 2021/22 season. Here's what to expect.

Many of Italy’s ski resorts began opening for the new season this week with a strict health protocol in place.

After two winter seasons hit hard by the Covid crisis, Italy now faces the same challenge as its Alpine neighbours of France, Switzerland and Austria – how to get the ski industry back on its feet without adding to the risk of a new wave of infections across Europe this winter.

Here’s what we know so far about the measures in place for the 2021/22 season, with the obvious caveat that circumstances can change.

What are the rules?

Italy’s ski industry hopes that Covid-19 passes, masks and other health measures will be enough to prevent closures this year.

While Italy’s government did not specify that its health certificate, known as 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.

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

The green pass requirement applies to everyone aged over 12 when accessing ski lifts and slopes.

Capacity is reduced to 80 percent for closed cable cars, while open chairlifts can operate at full capacity.

Ski slopes must use lanes which “guarantee interpersonal distancing of at least one metre” and staff should be on hand to enforce rules and check for areas at risk of overcrowding.

Surgical-grade or FFP2 masks will be mandatory “both in common areas and on the slopes”, newspaper Corriere della Sera reports.

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

The protocol includes a recommendation that ski passes should be bought online in advance where possible to help manage crowds on the slopes.

Some resorts such as Cervinia have made it mandatory for visitors to purchase ski passes online.

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

Italy’s ski resorts are also planning to launch a new app which contains both the visitor’s green pass and their ski pass in order to speed up checks.

The standard Italian rules on masks and distancing will also be in place at all businesses.

Photo: JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP

Will these rules be in place throughout the winter?

Ski operators are keen to avoid a repeat of last year, when photos and videos were widely shared online showing maskless crowds at resorts – despite the strict health measures in place nationwide.

Ski slopes remained closed for most of last winter under tight restrictions, only opening in late February 2021 after infection rates began to fall.

There is no guarantee that the rules won’t change again this winter, and it all depends on the health situation in Italy overall, as well as in specific regions.

While every part of Italy is currently classed as a low-restriction ‘white zone’ under the country’s four-tiered system of restrictions, regions could be placed in the more restrictive yellow, orange or red zones if rates of infection and hospitalisation were to rise. This would be likely to mean business closures.

At the moment Italy’s infection rate remains relatively low, with around 4,000 confirmed cases per day on average in recent weeks. Health authorities are banking on the widespread use of the green pass within the country (including at workplaces and universities) to play a major part in keeping things that way, and masks and social distancing rules are also currently compulsory in shops and other indoor businesses and venues.

What about travel to Italy?

If travelling to Italy from another European country the rules are very straightforward at the moment.

All travellers entering Italy from within the European Union or Schengen area need to be able to prove their health status using their Covid health pass or green certificate, whether flying, driving or using another mode of transport.

The Italian health ministry states that all arrivals must have a copy of a digital health pass from any EU country showing that they have:

  • completed their Covid-19 vaccination cycle
  • or recently recovered from Covid-19
  • or have taken a molecular or antigen swab test within the 48 hours prior to entering Italy, with negative results. 

For other countries: Italy also accepts equivalent health certificates from the UK, US, Canada, Israel and Japan for entry without quarantine.

These health certificates are accepted for entry at the border as well as for entry to many leisure and cultural venues under the ‘green pass’ system once in the country.

If you have been in a ‘list D’ country (including the UK and US) within the past 14 days, you must show proof of vaccination or recovery AND a recent negative test result – full details here.

All arrivals in Italy also need to present a passenger locator form (dPLF). In reality this is rarely asked for when travelling by road, but in order to avoid any hold-ups at the border you can find the form here.

The travel rules are up for review on December 15th. But, like all other coronavirus-related rules, they are also subject to change, possibly at short notice, depending on the health situation.

Find official information about the current rules on travel to Italy from any country here


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