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

After two difficult years, in October the Italian ski industry cautiously reopened for the 2021/22 season. Here's what to expect if you're hitting the slopes this winter.

A woman shows her health pass on the ski slopes in Veneto, Italy.
If you're skiing in Italy this year don't forget your health pass. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

Italy’s ski resorts began opening for the new season in late October with a strict health protocol in place.

After two winter seasons hit hard by the Covid crisis, Italy faced the same challenge as its Alpine neighbours of France, Switzerland and Austria – figuring out how to get the ski industry back on its feet safely amid a new wave of infections across Europe.

READ ALSO: What will Italy’s Covid restrictions be this Christmas?

Italy’s ski industry hoped that Covid-19 health passes, masks and other health measures would be enough to prevent closures this year; and so far, they’ve been right.

Despite the country’s infection rate soaring in recent weeks, the Italian government has been determined to keep the country open as far as possible.

It’s achieved this by allowing the vaccinated and Covid-recovered to continue to access all venues and services nationwide, while increasingly tightening restrictions on the unvaccinated.

New rules that come into force on January 10th prevent those who are unvaccinated or not recently recovered from Covid from accessing ski resorts.

Here’s a closer look at the measures in place going forward for the 2021/22 season, with the obvious caveat that things can change at short notice.

‘Green pass’ requirement

From January 10th, a ‘super green pass’ health certificate, reserved for those who are vaccinated against or recovered from Covid, is required to access all ski slopes across the country for anyone aged 12 and up.

Previously a basic ‘green pass’, which can also be obtained via a negative Covid test result, was all that was needed to go skiiing in Italy’s least-restricted ‘white’ or ‘yellow’ risk category regions, while a ‘super green pass’ was required only in more restricted ‘orange’ zones (as of January 10th, the entire country is either a ‘white’ or ‘yellow’ zone).

That changed with a decree that came into force on December 30th as the government introduced new measures aimed at keeping Italy’s contagion curve under control. The reinforced or ‘super’ green pass is now required to access most leisure facilities and venues; ski lifts and slopes among them.

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

A green pass check will be carried out at the same time as ski passes are validated, with most resorts now using apps which merge their ski pass with the Italian green pass, such as the Dolomites Superski app.

“If the green pass is valid, the ski pass is activated for that day. Those who have a multi-day or seasonal ski pass will activate it via the app before the start of each ski day”, explained the president of the association of South Tyrolean cable car operators, Helmut Sartori. 

Some resorts such as Cervinia have made it mandatory for visitors to purchase ski passes online as part of efforts to keep crowds under control.

At bars and restaurants, from January 10th the ‘super’ green pass is also requirement for all customers aged over 12 under nationwide rules for both indoor and outdoor dining.

Hotels, which could formerly be access via a basic green pass, also require a super green pass from this date. Read more about the current Italian health pass requirements here.

What other rules are in place?

Surgical-grade or FFP2 masks are mandatory both on ski slopes and in any public areas (including outdoors) in resorts where queues or crowds are likely.

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.

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.

Business closures are unlikely unless any region is declared a high-risk ‘red’ zone.

Under red zone restrictions, ski lifts, restaurants, bars and other facilities would be closed.

What about travel to Italy?

All travellers entering Italy from a ‘list D’ country need to be able to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 AND a recent negative test result. Those without a vaccination or recovery certificate must still produce a negative Covid test result to enter the country, and are required to self-isolate for five full days on arrival.

Passengers from the US, Canada and Japan may produce a document from their state health authorities certifying that they are recently recovered from Covid in lieu of a vaccination certificate.

Once in Italy, certificates from the US, Canada, Japan, the UK and Israel are considered equivalent to the ‘super green pass’ and should be valid for entry into all venues that require the pass.

For travellers coming to Italy from another European country, the rules were tightened in mid-December.

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; AND a recent negative Covid test.

Those travelling from the EU without a vaccination or recovery certificate are subject to the same five-day self isolation requirements as List D arrivals.

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 next up for review on January 31st. But, like all other coronavirus-related rules, they are also subject to change, possibly at short notice, depending on the health situation.

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

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 boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order 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).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

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 in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

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

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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