Italy set to announce plan for lifting Covid ‘super green pass’ rules

The Italian government is expected to sign off on a long-awaited decree on Thursday containing plans to gradually ease the country's Covid-19 health restrictions.

Italy set to announce plan for lifting Covid ‘super green pass’ rules

Despite a recent rise in the coronavirus infection rate in Italy, the government is expected to go ahead this week with a planned decree setting out its ‘roadmap’ for lifting the ‘super green pass’ requirement and other measures.

An announcement is expected on Thursday, March 17th,, following a government cabinet meeting on Wednesday, according to Italian media reports.

EXPLAINED: Why is Italy’s coronavirus infection rate rising again?

The country has been waiting for updates since February 7th, when Prime Minister Mario Draghi said details of plans to end restrictions would be published “soon”.

On February 23rd, Draghi announced that Italy’s Covid state of emergency would end on March 31st, and confirmed plans to “gradually” lift the ‘super green pass’ requirement from April.

So far, there has been no official confirmation of any planned changes from April 1st onwards.

However, Italy’s deputy health minister Andrea Costa told Radio Anch’io last week that, from April 1st, the obligation to show a health pass is likely to be removed from some venues.

“Right from the start there will be situations where the green pass will not be necessary,” he said.

For outdoor areas in bars and restaurants for example, from April it will no longer be necessary to request the green pass. And then by summer there will be no more restrictions.”

The decree is also expected to set out plans for ending the requirement to wear masks in indoor and some outdoor public places in Italy.

Italy is expected to take a more gradual approach to easing the rules than many other European countries. In France, for example, masks and health passes will no longer be required in almost all indoor venues from March 14th.

Italian media speculates that the rules will change several times throughout April, and green pass rules will be dropped completely by the end of May.

As part of this gradual change, many venues and services are expected to become accessible with only a ‘basic’ green pass (which can be issued based on a negative test result) instead of a ‘super green pass’ (which can only be issued based on proof of vaccination or recovery).

At the moment, almost all venues and services in Italy, including hotels, restaurants and public transport, require a ‘super green pass’ for access.

The ‘basic’ green pass requirement is expected to apply to hotels, restaurants, and public transport instead, as part of Italy’s push to encourage tourists to return.

The decree is not expected to contain any updates to Italy’s travel rules, which were last updated at the beginning of March.

The Local will publish updates on the incoming rule changes once more information becomes available. See the latest news here.

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

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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.