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Q&A: How will Italy’s new Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

Italy's Covid-19 health pass
The rules on using Italy's Covid-19 health pass are about to get stricter. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
The Italian government has approved strict new 'super green pass' rules aimed at keeping the coronavirus infection rate under control this winter. Here's what we know so far about how the system will work.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday evening announced incoming restrictions for those who are not vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19 under so-called ‘super green pass’ rules.

The new system is set to take effect under a new decree in force from December 6th until at least January 15th.

READ ALSO: Italy to impose ‘super green pass’ Covid restrictions on unvaccinated

Draghi said the rules were needed to keep businesses open and said the new system will allow those who get vaccinated to enjoy a “normal” Christmas this year.

Though many details are yet to be published, here’s what we know so far about how the new rules will work based on announcements made by the prime minister and health minister at Wednesday’s press conference and a press release issued by the prime minister’s office.

What is Italy’s ‘super green pass’ and how have the rules changed?

The new rules mean the country’s health certificate or ‘green pass’ will no longer allow access to leisure and cultural venues and some forms of long-distance public transport unless the bearer is vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19.

“The reinforced green pass only applies to those who are either vaccinated or cured,” stated the government’s press release.

Italy’s current green pass is issued to those who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid within the past six months, or have tested negative within the past 48 or 72 hours (depending on the type of test taken).

From December, passes issued based on negative test results will only be valid for entry to workplaces, public transport and other venues deemed essential.

Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Where will the ‘super green pass’ be required?

Those who are not vaccinated or recovered will be unable to access any of the cultural or leisure venues where the green pass is currently required. This includes gyms, nightclubs, ski lifts and sports stadiums, as well as indoor bars and restaurants.

The government said the pass requirement will be applied to events, businesses and services that would “otherwise be subject to restrictions”, including closures, in any region declared a ‘yellow’ zone under Italy’s four-tier system for health measures.

This includes shows (such as theatre performances), parties, nightclubs and sporting events, as well as “indoor catering” and “public ceremonies” which would appear to cover large events such as weddings.

What are you allowed to do without the ‘super green pass’?

Italian green passes issued based on a negative test result will still be valid for entry to workplaces and public transport.

Under the new decree, the current green pass requirement has been extended to hotels, regional and interregional trains, and local public transport, meaning a pass is required for access but this can be based on a negative test result, according to reports from news agency Ansa citing government sources

The validity period of passes based on a negative test result has not changed.

There are currently no green pass requirements for entry to shops and supermarkets and this appears to remain the case under the incoming rules.

How long will the pass be valid for?

The new decree will also cut the validity of green passes from to nine months for those who are vaccinated, amid indications that protection from the vaccine appears to diminish faster than previously thought.

Until now, a green pass received as a result of vaccination against or recovery from Covid was valid for 12 months.

While few details have yet been officially announced, this appears to mean that passes generated after the completion of the initial vaccination cycle (after the administration of the second dose, or after the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine) will now be valid for nine months and passes generated after a booster or third dose will then be valid for a further nine months.

While the new decree confirms that people will be allowed to get a booster shot five months after completion of the vaccination cycle (instead of six as was previously the case), this does not mean that green passes will expire after five months.

Do the ‘super green pass’ rules apply to children?

Italy’s current green pass rules do not apply to under-12s and this will remain the case under the new decree.

Italy is currently recommending vaccinations for all those aged over 12 years old, though an announcement on vaccines for 5-11 year olds is expected in the coming days.

If vaccinations are approved for under-12s, green pass rules and vaccine requirements will still not apply to this age group.

Do these rules apply to foreign visitors?

The government has not explicitly stated that the new ‘super green pass’ rules will apply to foreign visitors in Italy. However, current green pass rules apply to everyone in the country regardless of nationality, residency, or any other factors and it is very likely that this will be the case with the new restrictions.

The new decree only covers domestic rules and does not mention changes to restrictions on international travel.

Green pass requirements remain the same for entry to Italy at the moment, however an announcement is expected in the coming days on changes to the EU-wide health pass system amid the worsening health situation across the bloc.

As EU countries begin to impose new travel restrictions on each other, the European Commission says it recognises the need to tighten the rules of its Covid certificate. For the latest on how this system could change, see here.

We will continue to update this article with new information as soon as it becomes available.


Member comments

  1. I wonder for kids 12-15 from the UK, that have had only one vaccine, will they be allowed to get on ski lifts with a negative Covid test? If not, this will be a blow for Uk tourists going skiing this winter

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