Italy confirms most shops require Covid green pass from February 1st

The Italian government on Friday confirmed the expansion of the health pass requirement from February 1st and agreed on a list of shops and services that will be exempt.

Italy's green pass health certificate
Italy’s 'super green pass' is currently required to enter many venues including hotels and restaurants. Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

Prime Minister Mario Draghi signed a new decree confirming the rules on Friday morning, Sky TG24 reports, after a week of drawn-out discussion between the national government and regional leaders.

Exempt businesses include supermarkets and food shops, pharmacies, opticians, and shops selling fuel and animal food, according to media reports on Friday.

The decree text reportedly states that the exemption applies to shops “related to essential and primary needs”,

This includes “retail shops with a prevalence of food and beverage products, or hypermarkets, supermarkets, food discount stores, mini-markets and other non-specialized food and beverage outlets”

The full text of the decree is yet to be published, and it remains unclear whether tobacconists and newsagents are covered by the exemption. (This article will be updated when more information becomes available.)

From February 1st, those who are not vaccinated or recovered will be able to enter other shops only with a ‘basic’ version of the country’s green pass health certificate, which can be obtained via testing.

Italy currently has a two-tiered green pass system in place, with the basic version of the pass available to those who test negative, alongside the ‘reinforced’ or ‘super’ green pass which proves the bearer is vaccinated against or has recovered from Covid-19.

Passes based on rapid tests are valid for 48 hours, while PCR or molecular test results produce a pass that remains valid for 72 hours.

As of January 20th, the basic version of the pass is already a requirement for entry to hairdressers, barbers, and beauty salons.

The same requirement will apply to public offices, banks and post offices from February 1st.

Calendar: When do Italy’s Covid-19 rules change?

Friday’s decree clarifies that the pass will not be required at police stations when filing complaints, or at shops and services “supplying drugs and medical devices” or to “healthcare services, including veterinary ones, for all purposes of prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” including for carers.

Owners or managers of the shops and offices in question will reportedly be tasked with ensuring compliance, “including with the use of random checks”. Businesses found not to be enforcing green pass requirements can face fines of up to 1,000 euros.

Many other businesses and services in Italy already require the ‘reinforced’ version of the green pass proving vaccination or recovery, including bars, hotels and all forms of public transport, under rules tightened on January 10th.

The requirement is set to remain in place until at least March 31st, which is the current expiry date for Italy’s state of emergency.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What Covid-19 rules are now in place in Italy?

The rules apply nationwide, regardless of the zone a region is in under Italy’s four-tiered system of risk classifications.

Under the new decree, the Italian government was also expected to “reconsider” the system of white, yellow, orange and red ‘zones’, which has been in place since November 2020.

There have been growing calls for the tiered system to be altered or scrapped altogether as the government’s strategy for dealing with the pandemic relies increasingly on vaccination rather than business closures and lockdown measures.

However there was no mention of any incoming changes to the system as of Friday morning.

President of the Lombardy Region Attilio Fontana on Friday suggested a conference between regional heads ad the government would be held next week instead, adding that the zone system “is a little out of date”

“It was useful at a certain stage and now I think it needs to be modified,” he said. “The virus and its way of expanding are different, and the situation of citizens, who are largely vaccinated, is different. We must try to adapt to the new situation.”

For the moment, the system remains in place with four more regions – Abruzzo, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piedmont and Sicily – expected to be declared higher-risk ‘orange’ zones from Monday, according to media reports based on the latest weekly health data.

For further details about Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures please see the Italian health ministry’s website (available in English).


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.