Italy to mandate COVID vaccine pass for entry to museums, theaters and restaurants

Jul 23, 2021

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Italian government officials have approved a measure requiring people to show a vaccine “green” pass to be able to enter restaurants, museums, gyms, casinos, and even sporting events from August 6. The move comes as Italy, like many other countries, is struggling with the alarming resurgence of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant.

By placing restrictions on unvaccinated people, officials hope to boost the country’s vaccination rate and protect the economy as it tries to rebound. The latest numbers according to Reuters indicate 48.2 percent of all Italians are fully vaccinated, but the vaccination rate has slowed in recent weeks. Infections spiked after the celebrations following Italy’s victory in the Euro 2020 football championship.

In Rome, cases have soared 500 percent since July 11.

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The pass, essentially a spin-off of the EU’s digital COVID certificate, will go into effect on August 6. To acquire certification, individuals have to provide proof they have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine in the previous nine months. They can also get the pass by showing evidence they have recovered from COVID in the last six months or proof of a negative test taken within 48 hours of applying.

“The certification is needed to “to keep economic activity open″ and will allow people to enjoy entertainment ”with the assurance they won’t be next to contagious people,” said Italian Premier Mario Draghi.

Without the pass, people will not be able to dine inside restaurants or cafes, attend local festivals or business conferences, or even public pools. Nightclubs in Italy remain closed.

Some 40 million people in Italy have already downloaded a “green pass,” according to Health Ministry officials. The certification was already required to attend wedding receptions and to visit residents at elderly care homes.

Officials will re-evaluate the “green” pass in September, and will also discuss making the pass mandatory for traveling within Italy by train, plane, or public transportation.

Related: Protests erupt as France introduces new vaccination requirements

The U.S. State Department and the CDC both have Italy at a Travel 3 level, which is not the highest level. It recommends people reconsider travel to Italy due to the risk of infection, or if you must go, be fully vaccinated. Italy remains on the U.K.’s Amber list for travel, which means non-essential travel is allowed provided you follow travel and testing protocols.

Health experts say the delta variant of the coronavirus is firmly entrenched in Italy, but Italy has seen a promising reduction in virus-related deaths in recent months. Four months ago, hospitals were seeing 400 COVID-19 deaths a day, but now that figure has dropped to as low as a dozen daily fatalities on some recent days.

That progress is why Italy’s Premier keeps encouraging citizens to get jabbed.

”The first thing I have to say,” said Draghi, “is to invite all Italians to get vaccinated and to do it right away.”

Featured image by Fritz Jorgensen/via Getty Images

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