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‘Super green pass’: How is Italy enforcing the new Covid rules?
Italian police handed out almost 1,000 fines to people who failed to show the new Covid 'super green pass' document on the first day of new restrictions on Monday. But where and how are checks being carried out?
Published: 7 December 2021 17:52 CET
Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
Italy on Monday December 6th introduced new restrictions for those who are not vaccinated against or recovered from Covid-19 under so-called ‘super green pass’ rules.
Italy has since August required people to show a green pass which could also be obtained via a negative test result, and these ‘basic’ green passes will continue to be valid for access to workplaces, local public transport and venues deemed essential.
But access to many cultural and leisure venues, including nightclubs and sports facilities, is now restricted to those who can prove they are vaccinated or recovered under the new ‘super’ or reinforced green pass rules. Health passes which were issued based on recovery or vaccination will remain valid for entry to all venues.
More venues will fall under these restrictions in any regions declared higher-risk ‘orange’ zones under Italy’s tiered system of heath measures, though this does not currently apply to any part of the country.
The rule changes also mean hotels and local forms of public transport must now require a ‘basic’ green pass (which can be based on negative test results) for entry.
Business owners are required to ensure customers comply with the rules by checking green passes using the verification app – and if they’re found not to have done so, both staff and customers face fines and the business could be temporarily closed.
The health ministry on Sunday stated that it had updated its Verifica C-19 app, which is used to check the validity of green passes.
Holders of green passes (issued based on vaccination or proof of recovery) don’t need to do anything to obtain a ‘super’ green pass: their current passes will remain valid for entry where required if operators download and use the new version of the verification app.
But doubts remain as to how the rules can be enforced in some situations, particularly on public transport at peak times.
The Italian Transport Ministry is reportedly working on a new electronic ticketing system which would mean green passes were needed when purchasing tickets, but so far there’s no indication of when this may be launched.
A new ordinance published by the Interior Ministry on Monday stated that more police checks would be carried out on public transport and on businesses to ensure compliance with the new system.
Interior Minster Luciana Lamorgese insisted the checks on green pass compliance would be “rigorous”.
“I have read in some media that the Interior Ministry is taking a soft line,” she told reporters on Monday.
“It’s not true. Our line is one of rigor: public health must be guaranteed, the right to serenity when you go out.”
Some 937 fines in total were issued to people who were unable to show a green pass, according to news agency Ansa, and a further 2,000 fines were handed out on the same day to people not following the rules on wearing masks, following a total of 119.539 police checks.
Police shut down at least one bar in Rome for five days on Monday and fined the owner and members of staff, Ansa reports, as they did not have a basic version of the green pass certificate – which has been required in all workplaces in Italy since October 15th.
Currently masks are required in all indoor public places as well as in crowded outdoor areas in ‘white’ zones, and at all times in public, including outdoors, in ‘yellow’ zones as well as in the central areas of numerous Italian cities which have brought in stricter local rules.
Anyone who is unable to show a green pass or wear a mask when required risks fines of 400 euros or more, the new ordinance published by the Interior Ministry on Monday confirmed.
Anyone found at indoor restaurants or events without a the ‘super’ green pass can be removed from the venue and fined between 400 and 1,000 euros, the ordinance states.
The same fines apply to passengers on long-distance trains, domestic flights, local public transport, and customers at gyms, swimming pools, and hotels found to be without a green pass, and to the managers of businesses found not to have carried out checks
After three fines on three different days a business can be shut down for up to ten days.
In workplaces, the existing penalties remain in place: those found without green passes can be suspended without pay for five days and fined from 600 to 1,500 euros; while employers who don’t carry out checks can be fined from 400 to 1,000 euros.
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.
Published: 13 May 2022 16:45 CEST Updated: 16 May 2022 09:32 CEST
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.
“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.