Italy set to make Covid green pass mandatory for entry to ‘non-essential’ shops

The Italian government is drawing up a new decree this week which will make its Covid-19 health pass a requirement for entry to most shops, in addition to other venues and services already covered by the rules.

People walk past a shop in central Rome.
All except the most essential shops in Italy will soon have to ask customers to show a health pass under incoming rules.  Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

Starting next month, Italy’s green pass (either the ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ pass showing proof of vaccination, or the basic version accessible via a negative test result) is expected to be made a requirement for entry to all businesses and venues except for essential shops and services such as supermarkets, national broadcaster Rai reports.

The government on Tuesday is holding talks on whether certain shops, such as newsagents and tobacconists, should require passes for entry.

The list of exempt businesses, set to be specified in a new decree this week, will reportedly include food shops, pharmacies, opticians and stores selling fuel.

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

This will mean access to almost all businesses, service or venue in the country require some form of the health pass , after Italy tightened its rules on January 10th.

From that date, proof of vaccination against or recovery from Covid-19 (not a negative test result) has been required to access venues including restaurants, bars, hotels, ski resorts, museums, galleries, cinemas and sports stadiums, as well as all forms of public transport.

Italy has also made jabs mandatory for all over-50s who are resident in the country, with those who refuse to get vaccinated to face fines from February 1st. Some groups of workers including police and healthcare staff are also subject to a vaccination mandate.

Food shops will be exempt from Italy’s pass requirement. Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

The green pass takes the form of a QR code that can be scanned and checked by public sector and service industry workers, who can face police fines for failing to enforce the rules.

EXPLAINED: How do Italy’s Covid vaccination rules apply to visitors?

It’s not yet known when the new decree will come into force. An announcement is expected later this week.

The new rules are expected to apply nationwide, regardless of the zone a region is in under Italy’s four-tiered system of risk classifications.

The Italian government is “reconsidering” the use of its system of white, yellow, orange and red ‘zones’, which has been in place since November 2020.

It’s not yet known whether the tiered system will be altered or scrapped altogether, as the government’s strategy for dealing with the pandemic relies increasingly on vaccinations rather than business closures and lockdown measures.

For the moment, the coloured tier system remains in place with most of the country designated a ‘yellow’ zone as of Monday.


Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

It will still be obligatory for passengers to wear masks on flights to Italy until mid-June, despite the end of the EU-wide requirement on Monday, May 16th, the Italian government has confirmed.

Masks to remain mandatory on Italian flights after May 16th

The Italian government reiterated on Friday that its current mask-wearing rules remain in place until June 15th, reports newspaper Corriere della Sera.

This means the mask mandate will still apply to all air passengers travelling to or from Italy, despite the end of an EU-wide requirement to wear masks on flights and at airports across the bloc from Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What type of mask will I need for travel to Italy?

National regulations take precedence, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed when announcing the end of the EU rules.

“Wearing face masks at airports and inflight should be aligned with national measures on wearing masks in public transport and transport hubs,” they said in a joint statement published on May 11th.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

“If either the departure or destination States require the wearing of face masks on public transport, aircraft operators should require passengers and crew to comply with those requirements inflight, beyond 16 May 2022.

“Further, as of 16 May 2022, aircraft operators, during their pre-flight communications as well as during the flight, should continue to encourage their passengers and crew members to wear face masks during the flight as well as in the airport, even when wearing a face mask is not required”.

The Spanish government also said on Thursday that air passengers would have to continue wearing face masks on planes.

Italy’s current rules specify that higher-grade FFP2 masks should be worn on all forms of public transport, including buses, trams, regional and high-speed trains, ferries, and planes.

Though rules were eased in some settings from May 1st, masks also remain a requirement until June 15th at Italy’s cinemas and theatres, hospitals and care homes, indoor sporting event and concert venues, schools and universities.