Italy to end Covid state of emergency and cut ‘super green pass’, PM confirms

The Italian government will not extend the Covid-19 state of emergency beyond its current deadline of March 31st, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.

Italy to end Covid state of emergency and cut ‘super green pass’, PM confirms
Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

 “The goal is to open everything back up as soon as possible,” Draghi told a business conference in Florence, according to Italian media reports.

Though ministers have repeatedly indicated that the state of emergency would likely come to an end on that date, the move had not yet been confirmed.

The state of emergency is the condition which has allowed the Italian government to bring in emergency measures by decree over the past two years.

TIMELINE: When will Italy ease its coronavirus restrictions?

While the end of the state of emergency does not necessarily mean the end of all pandemic-related restrictions, the prime minister said the use of the ‘green pass’ health certificate scheme would also be scaled back.

The government will gradually remove the obligation to show proof of vaccination or recovery at many venues under the system, Draghi said, without giving any dates.

Italy currently operates a two-tiered green pass health certificate system, meaning proof of vaccination or recovery is currently needed for access to everything from hotels and restaurants to  public transport and many workplaces in Italy. 

READ ALSO: Where you now need to show a Covid green pass in Italy

“We will gradually put an end to the enhanced green certificate obligation, starting with outdoor activities including fairs, sports, parties and shows,” he said. 

“We will continue to monitor the pandemic situation closely, ready to intervene in case of resurgence.”

Rules on quarantine and the use of higher-grade FFP2 masks in schools are also to be eased in April, he said.

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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.