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COVID-19

‘Super green pass’: How is Italy enforcing the new Covid rules?

Italian police handed out almost 1,000 fines to people who failed to show the new Covid 'super green pass' document on the first day of new restrictions on Monday. But where and how are checks being carried out?

'Super green pass': How is Italy enforcing the new Covid rules?
Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Italy on Monday December 6th introduced new restrictions for those who are not vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19 under so-called ‘super green pass’ rules.

Italy has since August required people to show a green pass which could also be obtained via a negative test result, and these ‘basic’ green passes will continue to be valid for access to workplaces, local public transport and venues deemed essential.

But access to many cultural and leisure venues, including nightclubs and sports facilities, is now restricted to those who can prove they are vaccinated or recovered under the new ‘super’ or reinforced green pass rules. Health passes which were issued based on recovery or vaccination will remain valid for entry to all venues.

More venues will fall under these restrictions in any regions declared higher-risk ‘orange’ zones under Italy’s tiered system of heath measures, though this does not currently apply to any part of the country.

MAP: The Italian regions at risk of becoming ‘yellow’ zones in December

The rule changes also mean hotels and local forms of public transport must now require a ‘basic’ green pass (which can be based on negative test results) for entry.

Business owners are required to ensure customers comply with the rules by checking green passes using the verification app – and if they’re found not to have done so, both staff and customers face fines and the business could be temporarily closed.

The health ministry on Sunday stated that it had updated its Verifica C-19 app, which is used to check the validity of green passes.

Holders of green passes (issued based on vaccination or proof of recovery) don’t need to do anything to obtain a ‘super’ green pass: their current passes will remain valid for entry where required if operators download and use the new version of the verification app.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s Covid green pass rules changed on Monday

But doubts remain as to how the rules can be enforced in some situations, particularly on public transport at peak times.

The Italian Transport Ministry is reportedly working on a new electronic ticketing system which would mean green passes were needed when purchasing tickets, but so far there’s no indication of when this may be launched.

A new ordinance published by the Interior Ministry on Monday stated that more police checks would be carried out on public transport and on businesses to ensure compliance with the new system.

Interior Minster Luciana Lamorgese insisted the checks on green pass compliance would be “rigorous”.

“I have read in some media that the Interior Ministry is taking a soft line,” she told reporters on Monday.

“It’s not true. Our line is one of rigor: public health must be guaranteed, the right to serenity when you go out.”

Some 937 fines in total were issued to people who were unable to show a green pass, according to news agency Ansa, and a further 2,000 fines were handed out on the same day to people not following the rules on wearing masks, following a total of 119.539 police checks.

Police shut down at least one bar in Rome for five days on Monday and fined the owner and members of staff, Ansa reports, as they did not have a basic version of the green pass certificate – which has been required in all workplaces in Italy since October 15th.

Currently masks are required in all indoor public places as well as in crowded outdoor areas in ‘white’ zones, and at all times in public, including outdoors, in ‘yellow’ zones as well as in the central areas of numerous Italian cities which have brought in stricter local rules.

Anyone who is unable to show a green pass or wear a mask when required risks fines of 400 euros or more, the new ordinance published by the Interior Ministry on Monday confirmed.

Anyone found at indoor restaurants or events without a the ‘super’ green pass can be removed from the venue and fined between 400 and 1,000 euros, the ordinance states.

The same fines apply to passengers on long-distance trains, domestic flights, local public transport, and customers at gyms, swimming pools, and hotels found to be without a green pass, and to the managers of businesses found not to have carried out checks 

After three fines on three different days a business can be shut down for up to ten days. 

In workplaces, the existing penalties remain in place: those found without green passes can be suspended without pay for five days and fined from 600 to 1,500 euros; while employers who don’t carry out checks can be fined from 400 to 1,000 euros.

Member comments

  1. We have been denied entry to restaurants two times in the past 3 days because our paper CDC cards were not accepted. This will only get worse as Omicron spreads through Italy.

    I understand the fear of fines that restaurants face, but there is nothing in the decrees that say that the CDC card cannot be used. The MdS needs to put out a notice clarifying the rules to the establishments.

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COVID-19 RULES

‘Not offensive’: Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani defended the policy of testing all arrivals from China for Covid-19 after Beijing said the policy "lacks scientific basis".

'Not offensive': Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

“It seems perfectly normal to me,” Tajani told Italian state broadcaster Rai on Tuesday. “Having a test is a way to protect people’s health. There is nothing offensive about it.”

“Lots of Chinese and Italians coming from China do it (anyway),” he claimed.

READ ALSO: Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Italy was the first European country to make testing on arrival a requirement for passengers arriving on flights from China last week, after a surge in the infection rate there.

Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said on Wednesday that the screening requirement was “essential to ensure the surveillance and identification of any variants of the virus in order to protect the Italian population”.

READ ALSO: Italy pushes for EU-wide China Covid measures as tests show no new variants

France and Spain have since introduced similar rules (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) and there is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the screening policy would be “ineffective” if not done on a European level, as only people arriving on direct flights from China were being tested in Italy, not those with stopovers.

But the Chinese government on Tuesday hit out at countries introducing a policy of mandatory testing for people arriving from China.

“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted as saying at a briefing by AFP.

“This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable”.

She said Beijing may “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”.

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