Italy tightens Covid green pass requirements for hairdressers and shops

As the requirement to show a Covid-19 heath certificate at hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons comes into effect on Thursday, the Italian government is planning to extend the rule to other businesses.

Proof of testing, vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 is now required to visit the hairdressers in Italy.
Proof of testing, vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 is now required to visit the hairdressers in Italy. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

From February 20th until at least March 31st, Italy’s green pass (the ‘basic’ version, which is also accessible via a negative test result) is a requirement for entry to businesses in the “personal services” category: namely hairdressers, barbers, and beauty salons.

This change was announced under Italy’s last government decree, published on January 7th, but is only coming into force now as the introduction of many new rules has been staggered.

Calendar: When do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change?

The same requirement will apply to public offices, banks and post offices from February 1st, the last decree states.

As these rules come in, the government is also set to announce more changes on Thursday – including an extension of the basic green pass requirement to all but the most essential businesses, shops and services.

Ministers are reportedly still finalising details of the latest round of changes to the nationwide health measures under another incoming decree awaited on Thursday, following days of discussion with regional authorities and scientific advisors.

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

According to reports in Italian media, the list of exempt ‘essential’ businesses is expected to include pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores, opticians and tobacconists.

Open-air shops and services such as petrol stations, markets, newsstands and kiosks are also likely to be exempt, according to reports.

These new rules have not yet been officially announced and no start date has been confirmed at the time of writing.

Many other businesses and services in Italy already require the ‘reinforced’ version of the green pass, proving vaccination or recovery, including bars, hotels and all forms of public transport.

Italy currently has a two-tiered green pass system in place, with the ‘basic’ version of the pass available to those who test negative, alongside the ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass which proves the bearer is vaccinated against or has recovered from Covid-19.

The green pass takes the form of a QR code that can be scanned and checked by public sector and service industry workers.

The responsibility for enforcing the rules at shops and businesses falls to owners or managers, who can face fines of up to 1,000 euros for failing to ensure customers have a valid green pass.

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

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.

Under the incoming decree, the Italian government is also “reconsidering” the 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.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures please see the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

For members


Reader question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a certificate of recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle, or was certified as being recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.