Italy issues first fines for breaking ‘green pass’ rules

One week after Italy's green pass was extended to most public and cultural sites across the country, authorities have started handing out fines to those breaking the rules of its use.

Italy issues first fines for breaking 'green pass' rules
Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Milan and Treviso are the first cities to encounter sanctions for breaching the terms of Italy’s expanded ‘green pass’, according to news reports.

The infractions range from not having a green pass where needed to using someone else’s health certificate.

Police fined a 20-year-old in Milan because he was using a certificate that was not his own. The man now risks being charged if the document turns out to also be falsified.

A 68-year-old man was also fined in Milan and reported for refusing to show his green pass after sneaking into the open-air cinema ‘Arena Milano Est’.


Managers eventually alerted the police after attempting to stop him.

Meanwhile in Treviso, five customers of a betting hall were found without a green pass and will now have to pay a fine between €400 and €1,000 according to the rules set out by law.

Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

The Italian government made its health pass mandatory to enter indoor restaurants, museums, concert venues, gyms, spas, theme parks and many other leisure and cultural sites across the country from August 6th.

The health certificate proves that the holder has either been vaccinated with at least one dose, recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months, or has tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

Q&A: Your questions answered about Italy’s new Covid health pass

However, the move to show your coronavirus status has sparked protests across Italy, with demonstrators calling for the pass to be abolished claiming it’s a threat to freedom.

It has also seen fake green passes being sold online for hundreds of euros to avoid needing to be vaccinated, tested, or show proof of having recovered from Covid-19.

Police broke up online networks and shut down social media sites used to distribute the false health certificates.

Since the green pass expanded to include most venues across Italy, businesses have struggled to enforce the new rules with tourists being turned away amid confusion of how it should be used.

There have also been technical difficulties with the government’s VerificaC19 app, which businesses use to scan QR codes, including those generated by other countries’ health certificates.

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

However, a fix is reportedly due shortly with some British tourists already saying it now works with their NHS app.

As Italy’s bank holiday (Ferragosto) approaches, the Ministry of the Interior has indicated controls will be stepped up to enforce anti-Covid rules, according to Italian media reports.

Holiday resorts, beaches and the streets are of particular focus this weekend, as nightclubs have remained closed and gatherings are expected in more public spaces.

Authorities are set to pay particular attention to the current coronavirus restrictions, such as the obligation to wear a mask indoors – and the verification of the green pass.

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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.