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COVID-19 GREEN PASS

When will Italy scrap its Covid ‘super green pass’ requirement?

As Italy looks at ending some Covid-19 restrictions, what are the plans for the 'super green pass' health certificate now required by most venues and services in the country?

When will Italy scrap its Covid 'super green pass' requirement?
A waiter checks a customer's Covid-19 health pass in a bar. Italy is currently debating the end of some pandemic restrictions, but it’s unclear how long the health pass system will last. Photo: Ander GILLENEA / AFP

This article was updated on March 9th.

As many countries across Europe have recently announced the end of Covid-19 health measures, including mask mandates and the obligation to show proof of vaccination, Italy’s government too has promised to publish a roadmap for easing its own rules.

But over a month since Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on February 7th that a timeline for relaxing certain measures would soon be announced, very little has been confirmed regarding plans for changes to the requirement to show proof of vaccination in Italy.

Since then, Draghi has confirmed that Italy’s Covid state of emergency will end on March 31st, and he said there would be a “gradual” end to the country’s health pass requirement from April 1st. Making this announcement on February 23rd, he indicated that a detailed plan would be published in the next few days.

But so far, further details of the plan are yet to materialise.

READ ALSO: Italian regions push to scrap Covid rules as official timeline delayed

Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa echoed Draghi’s words on Wednesday, telling Rai radio that the government would start easing the green pass rules from April 1st and promising that “a schedule will be set in the next few days”.

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. 

Proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test result is required in order to enter most shops.

This means that even though unvaccinated visitors can enter the country – Italy has allowed people from both EU and non-EU countries to enter with only a negative test result since March 1st – they would face tight restrictions once in the country and find themselves unable to check in to hotel, take a bus, or visit a museum without proof of vaccination (or recovery from Covid-19).

Italy’s other deputy health minister, Pierpaolo Sileri, said last week that he is “in favour of reshaping the ‘super green pass’, gradually, until its abolition not from April 1st but in April,” which is in line with what Draghi indicated last month.

“I would carefully evaluate an abolition in workplaces before elsewhere,” Sileri added.

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

He said the priority should be “restoring normal capacity at the stadium or in the office” and suggested ending the requirement to wear masks indoors “by the middle of April”.

Italian media reports have suggested that the requirement may be gradually removed from certain venues and businesses over a number of weeks from April onwards.

Newspaper Corriere della Sera writes that the government will first remove the green pass obligation for bars and restaurants, and then outdoor sports venues.

Gyms, cinemas, theatres and public transport however are likely to be the last to see the end of the green pass obligation.

However it’s not clear what these reports are based on, as no such plan has been announced by the government.

READ ALSO: How Italy has updated its Covid health pass rules for visitors

The system looks unlikely to be removed altogether, as Italy’s health experts have taken a cautious tone when asked about the idea.

Walter Ricciardi, an advisor to Health Minister Roberto Speranza, insisted that the green pass system should stay in place for the rest of this year.

“It is still needed,” Ricciardi said in an interview with Repubblica on Monday. “For all of 2022 the [vaccination] obligation and the green pass must be maintained. We are still in a year of transition.”

He added that by October “we should see if the virus will recur and with what vehemence. It is essential to have the tools that allow us to fight it in the most effective way.”

He urged caution when talking about ending restrictions, saying: “it would be the third time we make the same mistake, the third year in which we think that it’s all over and then we find ourselves with the curve going up.”

Find more information about Covid-19 health measures on the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).

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COVID-19 RULES

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.

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