Unvaccinated over-50s in Italy lose access to workplaces from Tuesday

Those aged 50 or over in Italy who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer be able to access workplaces from Tuesday under an extension of the country’s ‘super green pass’ scheme.

Unvaccinated over-50s in Italy lose access to workplaces from Tuesday
Italy has required all employees to show Covid health passes since October 2021, but the rules are now being tightened for over-50s. Photo: Marco Bertorello / AFP

Under the rules coming into force from Tuesday, February 15th, all employees in either the public or private sector aged 50 or over will be obliged to show proof of vaccination via a ‘super green pass’ health certificate in order to enter their workplace.

The ‘super’ or ‘reinforced’ green pass, which is already required for access to most venues and services in Italy, shows that the holder has been vaccinated or recovered from Covid within the past six months.

However, for anyone aged 50 and over vaccination – not just recovery – is required, as Italy has mandated vaccination for this age group since early January.

The vaccination requirement, announced in a government decree published on January 7th, applies to anyone living in Italy aged 50 or over, or anyone due to turn 50 by June 15th (the date by which the mandate is currently due to expire).

EXPLAINED: How will Italy enforce its vaccine mandate for over-50s?

This includes foreign nationals, freelance workers, and those who are unemployed.

Anyone in this age bracket who remains unvaccinated as of February 1st, or who has not had a booster dose within six months of completing their primary vaccine cycle, is subject to a one-time €100 fine from Italy’s tax collections agency, the Agenzia delle entrate-Riscossione.

In addition, the rule change from February 15th means anyone in this age group who is unable to show proof of vaccination when entering their workplace could be fined or suspended without pay.

Those found in their place of work without the vaccine pass face fines of between €600 and €1,500, which double in the event of a repeat violation. Employers caught failing to enforce the rules are subject to the fines of between €400 and €1,000.

A vaccine pass is required for all over-50s in Italy to access their workplace from February 15th.

A vaccine pass is required for all over-50s in Italy to access their workplace from February 15th. Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP

Vaccination also became compulsory for university staff and those who work in music, art, and dance training academies under the January 7th decree. Those who work in these professions will also need the ‘super green pass’ to continue doing their jobs from February 15th.

They join healthcare staff, police, teachers and emergency services workers as categories of workers in Italy subject to a vaccine mandate.

All other workers in Italy can for now continue to use the ‘basic green pass’, which can also be obtained via a negative Covid test result, to go to work.

Italy’s Covid infection rate is now falling, with 51,959 new cases and 191 deaths recorded on Sunday, compared to 62,231 cases and 269 deaths in the previous 24 hours, reports news agency Ansa.

In an interview with Italy’s national broadcaster Rai on Sunday, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that the signs were positive but urged people in Italy to continue to act with caution.

“The requirement for over-50s is a correct decision that puts us in a position to look to the coming months with greater confidence,” Speranza said.

“We must still insist on vaccination – the more we dry out the unvaccinated areas the safer the country is,” he added.

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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.