‘Super green pass’: Italy brings in new Covid restrictions on unvaccinated

Unvaccinated people in Italy face restricted access to some services from Monday as the government tightens rules aimed at keeping infection rates down.

Visitors present their green passes at the entrance to Rome's Altare della Patria monument.
Visitors present their green passes at the entrance to Rome's Altare della Patria monument on December 5th. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Italy has been requiring a ‘green pass’ or health certificate within the country as well as for travel since August.

From Monday, a ‘super’ or rafforzato (strengthened) version of the green pass will only be available after vaccination or recovery, and no longer in case of a negative test result. It will be needed to attend sports events, concerts, theatres, indoor restaurants, and more.

EXPLAINED: How Italy’s Covid green pass rules change on Monday

The basic version of the green pass, which can also be obtained with a negative test result, will still be accepted in workplaces and on public transport. It will also now be required at hotels for the first time.

Doubts remain on Monday as to how the rules will be enforced on public transport, particularly at peak times.

Some activities, such as having a coffee at the bar of a cafe and dining outdoors, are allowed without any green pass at all.

The measures, which Prime Minister Mario Draghi says are needed to “preserve normality”, will be in place until at least January 15th, with the possibility that they will be extended further into 2022.

The Italian government on Sunday also revealed additional rules meaning that, for many venues, the green pass requirements would apply differently depending on which coloured zone each region is in.

In most cases, the rules are to be tightened if a region is declared a higher-risk ‘orange’ zone. In this situation, many venues and businesses which would have previously been closed down under orange zone restrictions can remain open but will require the ‘super’ green pass.

At the moment, all of Italy is either a low-risk ‘white’ or ‘yellow’ zone under Italy’s four-tiered system of  risk assessment, which has been in place since October 2020.

The two regions classed as yellow zones – Friuli Venezia Giulia and Bolzano – both border Austria, a country in partial lockdown due to the infection rate there.

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s new Covid rules affect tourists? 

These and other Italian regions could in theory be declared orange zones within weeks if numbers continue to rise.

The Italian government is relying heavily on the green pass system and the relatively high vaccination rate to keep the infection, hospitalisation and death rates down as another wave of contagion sweeps Europe.

However, Italy is currently faring better than many of its neighbours, with 15,000 cases out of a population of 60 million reported on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Italy considers bringing back outdoor mask requirement

Healthcare workers in Italy already have to be vaccinated under a law approved in April, but from December 15th the obligation will be extended to school staff, police, and the military.

Booster jabs are also being made available to all over-18s as of December 1st.

Almost 85 percent of over 12s have been vaccinated, health ministry data shows on Monday, and jabs will soon be available for younger children in Italy.

Member comments

  1. My number one question about the super green pass is, in simple language: What, if anything, do we holders of green passes need to do in relation to these new requirements? I was getting kind of irritated that no one seemed to be clearly answering that question, but then … I think that question gets answered in the seventh paragraph of this other article:

    to wit: “The government hasn’t indicated that vaccinated or Covid-recovered green pass holders need to do anything to upgrade their pass – so it appears as though their certificates will automatically be considered a ‘super green pass’, and users can go on as before.”

    That’s “super good news” if true.
    OK, I’ll sit down now.–CT

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Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Masks will no longer be required in the workplace but Italian companies will have the right to impose restrictions for employees deemed "at risk".

Italy lifts mask mandate for private sector workers

Representatives from the Italian Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health and all major national unions collectively signed off on Thursday a new “shared protocol” (protocollo condiviso) for the implementation of anti-Covid measures in private workplaces. 

Although the full text of the bill will only be made available to the public sometime next week, portions of the document have already been released to the media, thus disclosing the government’s next steps in the fight against the virus.

The most relevant update concerns face masks, which will no longer be mandatory in private workplaces. 

However, the text specifies, FFP2 face masks remain “an important protective item aimed at safeguarding workers’ health”. As such, employers will have the right to autonomously impose the use of face coverings on categories of workers considered “at risk”.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Notably, face coverings may remain mandatory for those working in “indoor settings shared by multiple employees” or even in “outdoor settings where social distancing may not be practicable”. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions (soggetti fragili) may also be subject to such rules, which, it is worth reminding, are left to the employer’s discretion. 

Alongside mask-related restrictions, employers will also have the right to have their staff undergo temperature checks prior to entering the workplace. In such cases, anyone with a body temperature higher than 37.5C will be denied access to the workplace and will be asked to temporarily self-isolate pending further indications from their own doctor.

In line with previous measures, companies will be required to continue supplying sanitising products free of charge and regulate access to common areas (canteens, smoking areas, etc.) so as to avoid gatherings.

Additionally, employers will be advised to keep incentivising smart working (lavoro agile), as it has proved to be “a valuable tool to curb infection, especially for at-risk individuals”.

Provided that the country’s infection curve registers no significant changes, the updated protocol will remain in place until October 31st, when it will yet again be reviewed by the relevant governmental and social parties. 

With the latest round of measures, Italy has now scrapped all Covid-related health measures, except the requirement to wear face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings, and self-isolation provisions for those testing positive. 

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Italy’s infection curve has been rising significantly since the beginning of June. From June 1st to June 14th, Covid’s R (spreading rate) rate rose back over 1 for the first time since April 8th. Also, from June 17th to June 23rd, the virus’s incidence rate was 504 cases every 100,000 residents, up by 62 per cent on the previous week.

According to Claudio Mastroianni, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Sapienza University of Rome, “with 25 per cent of daily Covid swabs coming back positive and a R rate over 1, the infection curve will likely rise at least until mid-July”.

However, albeit acknowledging the rising number of positive cases, Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa has so far categorically excluded the possibility of re-introducing lapsed Covid measures, saying that it’ll be a “restriction-free summer”.