Italy Expands COVID ‘Green Pass’ Restrictions for Many Activities in Efforts to Drive up Vaccination Rate

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
July 23, 2021 Updated: July 23, 2021

ROME—Italy will soon require people to have passes reflecting their health status to access gyms, museums, movie theaters, the inside of restaurants and other venues.

Premier Mario Draghi’s government approved a decree Thursday ordering the use of the so-called “green” passes starting on Aug. 6. To be eligible for a pass—a digital or paper certificate—individuals must prove they have received at least one vaccine dose in the last nine months, recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months, or tested negative in the previous 48 hours.

The passes will be needed to dine at tables inside restaurants or cafes, to attend sports events, town fairs and conferences, and to enter casinos, bingo parlors and pools, among other activities. according to officials.

It come amid a rise in daily COVID-19 cases in the country.

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,” Draghi said.

“The Italian economy is going well. It’s reviving, and Italy is growing at a rhythm superior to that of other EU nations,” the premier told reporters.

Some 40 million people in Italy have already downloaded a “green pass,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said. He noted that the certification is already required to attend wedding receptions and to visit residents of care homes.

More than half of people in Italy older than 12 and thus eligible for COVID-19 vaccines have received two doses, and several million more have received a first dose.

But fueled in part by huge street celebrations after Italy’s wins in the recent European soccer championships this month, new daily cases have climbed again.

Italy Fans Support The National Team In The Euros 2020 Final
Italian fans celebrate the victory of Italy after the Euro 2020 Final match between Italy and England, played at Wembley stadium, in Rome, on on July 12, 2021. (Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)

Still “pressure on hospitals is strongly diminished” due to vaccination, Draghi claimed. While Italy was reporting nearly 400 virus-related deaths a day four months ago, the number has been far lower lately, with fewer than a dozen deaths recorded on some recent days.

“The vaccine campaign permitted the economy to revive,″ Draghi said. ”The first thing I have to say is to invite all Italians to get vaccinated and to do it right away.”

By Frances D’Emilio

The Associated Press
The Associated Press