Italy requires COVID-19 pass for all workers from Oct. 15
MILAN (AP) — Italian workers in both the public and private sectors must display a health pass to access their workplaces from Oct. 15 under a decree adopted Thursday by Premier Mario Draghi’s broad-based coalition government.
The measures are the first by a major European economy requiring proof of vaccination, a recent negative virus test or recovery from COVID in the previous six months for all categories of workers.
“The Green Pass is an instrument of freedom, that will help us make workplaces safer,'' Health Minister Roberto Speranza told a press conference. ”The second reason is to reinforce our vaccine campaign."
Slovenia and Greece adopted similar measures this week. But Italy’s 2-trillion-euro ($2.35 trillion) economy, the third largest in the European Union, is a far larger target, and the measure underscores the government’s determination to avoid another lockdown even as the numbers of new virus infections creeps up, mostly among the unvaccinated.
Ministers said the measures were aimed at reinforcing Italy's economic recovery, with GDP forecast to grow 6% this year, at a critical moment in the pandemic as schools reopen and cooler fall weather moves more activities indoors, where the virus spreads more easily. They also expressed concern about the impact of any possible new variants.
Workers face fines up to 1,500 euros ($1,765) and employers up to 1,000 euros if they do not comply. Public sector employees risk suspension if they rack up five absences for failure to show up with a Green Pass; private sector workers can be suspended after the first failure. The measures remain in effect as long as Italy is in a state of emergency, currently until Dec. 31.
Labor Minister Andrea Orlando said that no one risked being fired if they didn't present a Green Pass,...