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COVID-19 RULES

Italy confirms unlimited Covid green pass validity after booster

The recent cut to the validity of vaccine passes will not apply to those who have had a booster shot, Italy's government confirmed on Wednesday evening.

Italy confirms unlimited Covid green pass validity after booster
A recent cut to the validity of vaccine passes in Italy will not apply to those who have had a booster. Photo: JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP

“The validity of the green pass will become unlimited for those who have had three doses – or two doses and have already had Covid-19”, read a tweet from the prime minister’s office following the conclusion of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday night.

A press release issued later on Wednesday night clarified that this applies “after the completion of the primary vaccination cycle” – therefore also to people who have had the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The six-month validity period of Italy’s ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass introduced on Tuesday, February 1st, will now only apply to passes issued based on two vaccine doses.

The rule change will be introduced within a new decree which will also scrap restrictions under the four-tiered ‘zone’ system, including ‘red zones’, for those who are vaccinated, the prime minister’s office said.

The decree also relaxed the rules on using Italy’s domestic ‘green pass’ for visitors, amid concerns that the country’s tight rules on showing proof of vaccination would impact the restart of tourism

Travellers from countries with different vaccination rules than Italy, and who are therefore unable to show valid proof of vaccination, will now instead be able to use a ‘basic’ green pass – accessible with a negative test result only – to access places such as hotels and restaurants where a vaccination pass was previously required.

So far, Italy recognises proof of full vaccination in any country on par with its own vaccination certificate or ‘super’ green pass, but these must be with a vaccine approved by the European or Italian medicines agency and must meet other criteria to be recognised as valid.

Health passes issued in any other European member state are automatically recognised in Italy.

“Today’s measures go in the direction of an even greater reopening of the country”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said during the meeting according to reports from national broadcaster Rai.

“In the coming weeks we will continue on this path towards reopening,” he said. “Based on the scientific evidence, and continuing to follow the trend of the epidemiological curve, we will announce a timeline for overcoming the current restrictions”.

The new decree is expected to come into force from February 7th, according to Rai.

The new six-month validity rule was revised just a day after it came into force on Tuesday, amid widespread concern about the impact on those who already had their booster shots almost six months ago

With no fourth dose available, tens of thousands of people who had a booster almost six months ago in Italy risked losing access to workplaces, public transport and much of public life within the next few weeks as their passes were set to become invalid.

Most of those affected would be healthcare workers, who were among the first to be vaccinated with a third dose in Italy from September.

The rule change was also expected to prove problematic for foreign tourists from countries which began administering booster shots earlier than Italy, such as the US.

It is not known how long the Italian green pass system will remain in place for, with the rules only valid under the country’s state of emergency – which is currently set to expire on March 31st, 2022.

The Italian government’s move to cut validity was intended to push more people in the country to get their third or booster jabs within six months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle.

Boosters are available to everyone in Italy aged over 18 from four months after completion of the initial vaccination cycle.

More than 83 percent of the eligible population in Italy has now been vaccinated with a third dose, according to the latest official data on Wednesday. 

Find more information about Covid-19 vaccinations in Italy and the green pass system on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English) and the official green pass website.

Member comments

  1. Great news on the extended validity of 3 booster jabs. Now the next question is about the 12-17 year old children from other countries that may not get the 3 vaccine at all, and got their second vaccine last autumn (so 6 moths are very soon full) and who’s families have booked or planned holidays to Italy ? Many must already cancel skiing holidays to Italy because of this issue.

  2. i believe under EU law this period is 9 months and not 6. So if you travel to Italy from EU/Schengen this is applicable.This hopefully gives some relief

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COVID-19 RULES

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

Italy has lifted almost all of its pandemic-related health restrictions, but there are still some rules to be aware of.

Italian police officer on patrol in Rome.
Police patrols have been stepped up in Italy in recent weeks as stricter Covid rules come in. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto

After years of frequently changing health measures in Italy, it can be hard to keep up with exactly what rules are in place.

For the first time in a long time, Italy now has almost no Covid restrictions in place and the rules are not expected to change in the coming weeks.

READ ALSO: Italy to keep quarantine rules in place as Covid cases rise

But, as the Italian health ministry remains cautious about managing the pandemic, there are still a couple of rules you’ll need to be aware of.

If you’re planning to visit Italy soon, here’s what to expect.

Travel to and within Italy

Travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism, is currently allowed from all countries.

As of June 1st, Italy has scrapped the requirement to show proof of coronavirus vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test result in order to enter the country.

This was the last remaining Covid-related rule in place for travellers to Italy, after the requirement for arrivals to complete an EU digital passenger locator form (dPLF) was lifted on May 1st.

Masks

Italy’s government on June 15th lifted its mask mandate for almost all public places.

However, higher-grade FFP2 masks remain a requirement on all forms of public transport, except for flights (both domestic and international) under rules which will stay in place until at least the end of September.

Masks also remain obligatory in hospitals, care homes and all other types of healthcare facilities.

Anyone refusing to comply with the rules can still face a fine of 400 euros.

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

Though it’s no longer a requirement, the government continues to advise people to wear masks in all crowded areas, including outdoors.

Private businesses and individual venues, including galleries and museums, may also impose their own mask mandates. 

Mask rules have been eased in Italy except for on public transport – though they remain recommended in crowded places. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Quarantine rules

Italy still requires anyone who tests positive for coronavirus while in the country to isolate for at least one week.

Following public debate over whether the isolation rule should now the scrapped, Italy’s health minister confirmed in late June that he has no intention of changing it anytime soon.

The health ministry’s existing rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days – if they’re fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid.

For anyone who is not classed as fully vaccinated or recently recovered, the isolation period is extended to 10 days.

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).

Reader question: How do Italy’s Covid quarantine rules work for travellers?

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.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days.

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

Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP

Green passes

Italy no longer requires people to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test result under the ‘green pass’ system which was in place last summer.

That means you’ll no longer need to show any form of health certificate in order to eat in a restaurant, visit museums, stay in a hotel, or use public transport.
 
However, if you end up visiting a hospital you will need to show proof of vaccination or recovery, or of a negative test result within the past 48 hours.
 
You won’t need an Italian green pass if you’re just visiting; Italy recognises proof of vaccination or recovery issued abroad as equivalent, providing it meets certain requirements.

Other restrictions

Italy no longer has any restrictions in place on business opening times or capacity.

Within Italy, there are no restrictions on travel and movement between regions under current rules set by the national government, though local authorities can impose their own measures at any time.

Note that local authorities and individual businesses in Italy can still set different rules than those at the national level, meaning certain rules may continue to vary from one place to another.

Italy’s health authorities continue to recommend precautions including social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

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.

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