What can you still do in Italy without a Covid-19 ‘green pass’?

While Covid-19 passports are now required in certain public spaces throughout Italy, you don't need one for everything. From taking the metro to dining outdoors, here's what you can still do in Italy without a green pass.

What can you still do in Italy without a Covid-19 'green pass'?
Dining outdoors in Italy does not require a Covid passport. Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

As of August 6th, certain businesses and cultural sites across Italy have to turn away customers without valid proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test, as the government seeks to avoid returning to restrictions despite rapidly spreading coronavirus variants.

But the health passport isn’t mandatory everywhere, and plenty of services can continue to operate with the standard safety measures of social distancing and face masks. 

If you aren’t sure what Italy’s Green Pass is or how to get one, find a complete overview here

If you’ve been having difficulty downloading yours, find our latest troubleshooting guides here:

And if you’re just visiting Italy and are wondering whether you can use documents from another country, find more information here

Remember, you can still claim the pass even if you’re not vaccinated (or if Italy does not recognise your vaccination): you’ll need to get a coronavirus test, with testing available for free in several of Italy’s biggest cities at pop-up clinics run by the Red Cross. Find more information here

With all that said, if you find yourself in Italy without a green pass this summer, here’s what you will still be able to access.

What can you do in Italy without a Covid-19 health pass?

  • Sit outdoors at a bar or restaurant

The health certificate is only necessary if you want to sit inside a restaurant or bar. If your table is outdoors, all you have to do is observe social distancing.

  • Get a coffee at the counter

Likewise, you can drink your espresso standing at the counter of a café without showing a health pass: it’s only if you want to sit at a table indoors that you’ll need it. Just remember to keep your face mask on when you’re not sipping.

  • Take public transport

Currently, the health pass isn’t required on any form of transport within Italy. That’s set to change from September 1st, when it will be needed to board long-distance trains, interregional coaches or ferries, private tour buses and domestic flights. 

Even after that change comes into effect, the green pass will not be required for shorter journeys on public transport, such as trips on the metro, trams, or local buses or trains.

  • Stay in a hotel

Accommodation owners in Italy do not have to ask guests for a health certificate in order to let them stay. In fact, so long as you’re staying there you can also dine at the hotel’s restaurant or have drinks at its bar without a pass – even indoors.

You might need to show a health pass in order to access certain hotel facilities, however, such as the gym, swimming pool or spa. You can also be asked for one if you’re attending a conference or wedding reception on the hotel’s premises.

READ ALSO: Ask an expert: ‘How can I still have my dream Italian wedding under Covid restrictions?’

Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP
  • Go shopping

Health certificates are not required at any shops in Italy, including malls and outlet centres.

  • Swim or play sports outdoors

Only indoor sports centres have to ask to see a Covid certificate. That means outdoor swimming pools, open-air gyms, tennis courts and other outdoor facilities remain open to people without a pass.

  • Go to the beach or mountains

Similarly, no proof of your health status is needed to go to the beach or enter Italy’s national parks, mountains, lakes or any other nature spots. Private lidos are still supposed to enforce social distancing between sun beds, though.

  • Go to school

No school pupils of any age will have to show a health pass to return to class in the new term. Instead the pass will be mandatory for school employees, as well as the staff and students of universities.

What can’t you do in Italy without a Covid-19 health pass?

The pass is now required at: indoor bars and restaurants; museums; theatres, cinemas and concert venues, including outdoors; gyms; indoor swimming pools; wellness centres and spas; theme parks; conferences and trade fairs; bingo halls, casinos, and other venues.

From September it will also be mandatory on long-distance public transport within Italy.

Find out more here

Find the latest updates in our health pass news section and further details on the Italian government’s official Green Pass website (currently only available in Italian).

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Italian government begins talks on Covid ‘super green pass’

Italy is set to tighten the rules on its health certificate scheme from December as Covid-19 contagion and hospitalisation rates continue to rise.

Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces.
Employees in Italy must show Covid health passes to access workplaces - but are the rules about to get stricter? Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Note: This article is no longer being updated. Please find the latest news here.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will hold a meeting with regional leaders on Monday evening, beginning several days of talks on a new government decree which is expected to be announced by Friday, reports national broadcaster Rai.

As the health situation has worsened across Italy in recent weeks – particularly in the north-eastern regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and the autonomous province of Bolzano – leaders of local governments are increasingly pushing for new measures, mainly in the form of further restrictions on the unvaccinated under a so-called “super green pass” scheme.

KEY POINTS: Italy’s new plans to contain the Covid fourth wave

Italy began rolling out its health certificate or ‘green pass’ for domestic use in August, initially making it a requirement at many leisure and cultural venues such as cinemas and indoor restaurants, before extending its use to workplaces and some forms of public transport. 

The certificate shows that the bearer has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has recovered from the disease within the last six months, or has tested negative in the last few days.

Instead, the proposed ‘super green pass’ would only be issued to those who are vaccinated or recovered, with passes issued based on testing in future only valid for entry to workplaces.

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

While no concrete decisions have yet been made, sources within the health ministry have indicated that it is considering the measure for any region declared a higher-risk ‘orange’ zone.

“Closures and restrictions must not be paid for by the vaccinated,” said Health Undersecretary Andrea Costa, adding that the ‘super green pass’ plan would “guarantee the unvaccinated access to workplaces and basic needs, but certain activities such as going to a restaurant, cinema or theatre should be reserved for the vaccinated if the situation worsens.”

“It is clear that we must bring in new initiatives,” he said in an interview with Sky TG24 on Sunday.

EXPLAINED: Will Italy bring in a Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated?

At the moment all of Italy remains in the lowest-risk ‘white’ zone, with few health measures in place.

However several regions are now nearing the thresholds at which they would be moved into the ‘yellow’ zone next week, and – if the situation continues to worsen – then risk being placed under orange zone restrictions two weeks later.

Costa said a planned third dose obligation for health workers “is already foreseen and I think it will be approved this week.”

Health Minister Roberto Speranza put forward proposals last week to make third doses obligatory for the healthcare staff already subject to a vaccine requirement, and also to cut the validity of Italy’s Covid-19 health certificate – the so-called green pass – from 12 to nine months for people who are vaccinated, including with a third dose.

READ ALSO: Italy to start Covid boosters for over-40s on Monday as infection rate rises

The changes have not yet been formally approved, but are expected to come in from December 1st under the planned new decree set to be signed into law by the end of the week.

Other measures the government is reportedly considering include cutting the validity of green passes based on PCR test results from 72 to 48 hours, and those from the results of rapid testing will be reduced from 48 to 24 hours.

There have also been calls from health experts and regional leaders to stop issuing green passes based on rapid test results altogether, as these are less reliable than the results of a PCR test.