The Italian government on Wednesday announced a raft of extensions to the current Covid-19 restrictions including a new requirement for all hotel guests to show a health certificate, known as a ‘green pass’ in Italy.
Under current rules in Italy, health passes must be shown to enter many leisure and cultural venues as well as to access workplaces and some forms of public transport. But so far, hotels have remained exempt from the requirement.
This is set to change as of December 6th, as all hotels will be required to check that guests have a valid certificate proving they are vaccinated, have recently recovered from Covid-19 or have tested negative.
Italian hoteliers association Federalberghi stated in a press release on Wednesday that new requirements risk “preventing millions of foreign tourists from reaching our country,” especially those from countries administering vaccines not recognised by the European Medicines Agency.
The association’s statement read: “Competing countries will be given an advantage, waiting with open arms for the millions of foreign tourists (Asian, Russian, Brazilian, etc.) that Italy is preparing to reject.”
The government confirmed that it would not place ‘super green pass’ requirements on hotels, which would limit access only to those who are vaccinated or recovered.
Instead, the current green pass will be required, meaning that hotels can also accept passes generated based on a negative test result.
However, Federalberghi president Bernabò Bocca told reporters that hotel operators were still facing “unequal treatment”.
“Hotels, which already suffer from strong competition from other forms of accommodation, are required to strictly comply with the new provisions but this is not the case for short-term rentals where compliance with the rules is not guaranteed.”
Employees stand behind screens at the reception desk of Rome’s Sheraton Parco de Medici hotel. Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP
Maria Carmela Colaiacovo, president of the Confindustria Association of Hotels, told newspaper La Republica that the rules would “risk making it impossible for families who choose to stay in a hotel to organise a holiday.”
She noted that some visitors would be coming from countries where under-16s are not yet being vaccinated, while Italy requires a green pass for all over 12s.
“The holidays are upon us and it is essential that we have clear indications on this immediately, taking into account the complexities that concern these cases.”
A statement from business association Confesercenti read: “The hope is that [the green pass] will at least serve to avoid restrictions and the closure of economic activity during the Christmas period; this would be the final blow for tens of thousands of businesses which have not yet recovered from the limitations imposed last year.”
Italy’s new coronavirus decree, unanimously approved by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, tightens a range of restrictions as the government pushes to increase vaccine uptake and flatten Italy’s contagion curve as infection rates rise across Europe.