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).


Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italian heathcare staff suspended over their refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19 can now return to work, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed on Monday.

Italy allows suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work

Italy become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for healthcare workers to be vaccinated, ruling in 2021 that they must have the jab or be transferred to other roles or suspended without pay.

That obligation had been set to expire in December, but was brought forward to Tuesday due to “a shortage of medical and health personnel”, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci said.

READ ALSO: Is Italy’s government planning to scrap all Covid measures?

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, and has since registered nearly 180,000 deaths.

Schillaci first announced the plan to scrap the rule on Friday in a statement saying data showed the virus’ impact on hospitals  “is now limited”.

Those who refuse vaccination will be “reintegrated” into the workforce before the rule expires at the end of this year, as part of what the minister called a “gradual return to normality”.

Meloni said the move, which has been criticised by the centre-left as a win for anti-vax campaigners, would mean some 4,000 healthcare workers can return to work.

This includes some 1,579 doctors and dentists refusing vaccination, according to records at the end of October, representing 0.3 percent of all those registered with Italy’s National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) 

Meloni’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy party railed against the way Mario Draghi’s government handled the pandemic, when it was the main opposition party, and she promised to use her first cabinet meetings to mark a clear break in policies with her predecessor.