Italy Requires ‘Green Pass’ for Cultural Venues, Indoor Dining

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The Italian government, seeking to stem a new wave of coronavirus cases, announced on Thursday that from next month people will be required to present proof of immunity to access a range of services and leisure activities.

The so-called Green Pass is a digital or paper certificate that shows whether someone has received at least one shot, has tested negative or has recently recovered from COVID-19.

From August 6, the pass will be mandatory to enter gyms, swimming pools, sports stadiums, museums, spas, casinos and movie theaters. You also need a pass to eat in indoor restaurants.

“The Green Pass is essential if we want to keep businesses open,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters.

However, divisions within his unity government meant that proposals to include trains, public transport and domestic flights in the pass system had to be shelved for the time being, with the right-wing League party warning it would kill tourism.

On the other hand, the cabinet agreed that discotheques should remain closed, also for people with a Green Pass.

The Green Pass was introduced in Italy last month, but until now it was only required for travel within the European Union and to access care homes or large wedding receptions within Italy.

The government’s decision to expand the scope followed a similar move by France this month and underscores growing concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant.

The number of new coronavirus infections recorded in Italy has doubled in the past week, reaching 5,057 on Thursday.

Draghi hits back at lawmakers urging young people under 40 to avoid needles

There is also concern that the vaccination campaign is slowing down, with many under 50 still failing to book shots.

According to the latest data, about 48.2% of Italians are fully vaccinated and 14.1% are waiting for a second shot. Studies show that double vaccinations provide strong protection against the Delta variant, while initial doses provide only limited coverage.

Some right-wing politicians, including legislators within Draghi’s coalition, have refused to get behind the vaccination campaign and have urged people under 40 not to get vaccinated. The Prime Minister denounced such comments.

“Calling people not to get vaccinated is a call to people to die. If you don’t vaccinate, you get sick, you die or you let other people die,” Draghi said.

(REUTERS)