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COVID-19 RULES

Green pass and red zones: How Italy’s latest decree changes the Covid rules

Unlimited vaccine pass validity for the Covid-boosted and the scrapping of 'zones' for the fully vaccinated are two key changes that came into force in Italy on Saturday following a new government decree.

Italy has relaxed Covid restrictions for the fully vaccinated and boosted in its latest decree.
Italy has relaxed Covid restrictions for the fully vaccinated and boosted in its latest decree. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

On February 5th, Italy’s government brought in a new set of rules aimed at loosening Covid restrictions for the fully vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19.

The new measures are also designed to make life easier for tourists entering the country, and to simplify rules around quarantine requirements in schools.

Here’s what changes, according to the decree text (read it here, in Italian).

Unlimited ‘super green pass’ validity for the Covid-boosted

The ‘super green pass’ vaccine pass, now required to access most services and venues in Italy, as of Saturday has unlimited validity for those who have received their booster shot, or those who have completed their primary vaccination cycle and subsequently recovered from Covid.

“COVID-19 green certifications issued after the third dose are effective without the need for re-vaccination. Those who have undergone the third dose are equivalent to those who have contracted COVID and recovered after completion of the primary vaccination cycle,” the government’s press release summing up the decree states.

LATEST: Italy confirms unlimited Covid green pass validity after booster

The announcement comes after Italy slashed the pass’s validity from nine to six months on February 1st, causing 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.

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, as foreign-issued vaccine certificates are considered equivalent to Italy’s ‘super green pass’.

The decree text specifies that foreign visitors who have completed their primary vaccination cycle and received a booster shot, or have completed their primary vaccination cycle and subsequently recovered from Covid, will have indefinite access to all those spaces which require a super green pass or its equivalent.

‘Basic green pass’ health certificate valid for non-boosted visitors and those with vaccines not recognised by Italy

For foreign tourists, Italy only recognises certain vaccines (all EMA-recognised vaccines plus Covishield, R-CoVI and Covid-19 vaccine-recombinant (Fiocruz) as valid.

EXPLAINED: How do Italy’s Covid ‘super green pass’ rules apply to visitors?

This presented problems for would-be visitors that had received vaccines not currently recognised by Italy, and has been addressed in the new decree: those who are fully vaccinated with non-recognised vaccines can now access places such as hotels and restaurants where a vaccination pass was previously required with a ‘basic green pass’, under which a recent negative test is sufficient.

Visitors who are vaccinated with vaccines that are recognised by Italy, but who completed their primary vaccination cycle more than six months ago and have not received a booster shot can use the same ‘basic green pass’ obtained via a recent negative test result to access all venues and services in Italy.

Italy's vaccine pass will now have unlimited validity for those who have received a booster shot.
Italy’s vaccine pass will now have unlimited validity for those who have received a booster shot. Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP

A negative result from a rapid antigen test taken at a pharmacy will provide a certificate with 48 hours’ validity; while a negative result from a PCR test will produce a certificate with 72 hours’ validity.

‘Zone’ restrictions to be scrapped for super green pass holders

As of Saturday, no zone restrictions apply to those in possession of a valid super green pass, the decree states – not even in the highest risk ‘red’ zones.

Introduced under former prime minister Giuseppe Conte in early November 2020, the four-tiered zone system divides Italy’s 21 regions and autonomous provinces by colour: from white (lowest risk), to yellow, orange, and red (highest risk).

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change in February?

The system, which has been revised multiple times since it was first brought in, was initially used to place tighter restrictions on movement in areas where the risk of contagion and pressure on hospitals was deemed dangerously high.

But its usefulness had been increasingly called into question in recent weeks amid increasing reliance on the use of vaccine passes in Italy and rule changes which mean restrictions in white and yellow zones are now the same, while rules only change in an orange zone for people who are unvaccinated.

Under the new measures, Italy’s zone restrictions are effectively over for those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.

For the unvaccinated or those who have not recently recovered from Covid, zonal restrictions will continue to apply.

Schools quarantine rules to be simplified

As schools and regional authorities had complained the current quarantine rules were unworkably arcane, these have been simplified in the new decree.

For kindergartens and nurseries, in-person teaching will continue with up to four positive cases, and will switch to remote learning for five days if there are five or more positive cases.

For primary schools, in-person teaching will continue, with the use of FFP2 masks for teachers and students aged over six, with up to four positive cases.

The entire class will be required to take a Covid test on Day 0 (the day the first positive case is discovered) and Day 5. 

When there are five or more positive cases, students who completed their primary vaccination cycle or have recovered from Covid less than four months ago, or have received a booster shot, will remain in the classroom; all others will switch to remote learning from home for a five day period.

For middle and secondary schools, where there is one positive case among students, in-person teaching will continue with the use of FFP2 masks by all students and teachers.

Where there are two or more positive cases, students who completed their primary vaccination cycle or have recovered from Covid less than four months ago, or have received a booster shot, will remain in the classroom; all others will switch to remote learning from home for a five day period.

In all schools, the FFP2 masks must be worn for ten days from the last positive case.

Member comments

  1. Ok, here is the problem: we were vaccinated in Italy and the first time around all you had to supply was your fiscal code to get your green pass. Now it seems you need to supply your health card number (which if you are NOT a resident, you do not have). We had our third dose but there is no way of it registering on our green pass. NOW WHAT?! thanks. Canadians in Italian limbo (and so many others)

  2. You could try asking at the farmacia; I understand that they may be able to retrieve your Green Pass for you with just a Codice Fiscale.

  3. My son had Covid and was confirmed recovered last week with a negative test – he has just turned 12 so we are trying to get his greenpass but so far not having any luck. We have called ATS, ASL and the ministry. The problem seems to be that his Tessera was issued by Lazio a few years ago but now we live in Lombardia, the regions don’t communicate with each other. No one can tell us how he can get his greenpass and without it he is unable to live a normal life.

    Does anyone have experience of this and point me in the right direction?

    1. Hi, it seems that you would only be able to access a green pass based on recovery from Covid-19 if you have a certificate of recovery issued by your doctor or healthcare provider in Italy and registered with the local health office (ASL). Once registered it should generate a green pass automatically. If you have a certificate which you can send to the ASL in the area you now live in, they should be able to help (although they might insist that your son registers with the office in your new area first). If you don’t have a recovery certificate, and only a negative test result, this would not be seen as valid for the purposes of issuing a green pass based on recovery.
      You can find more details here on the Italian health ministry’s green pass website (which is unfortunately only available in Italian): https://www.dgc.gov.it/web/faq.html#pguarite
      Best wishes,
      – Clare

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COVID-19 RULES

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.

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