Italy ramps up Super Green Pass restrictions amid covid surge.
The Italian government has imposed compulsory covid vaccinations for people aged 50 and over in a bid to stem a steep rise in covid-19 infections.
From 15 February all public and private workers over 50 will only be able to access their workplace with the Super Green Pass, which is obtained by those who have been vaccinated or recovered from covid-19.
The compulsory vaccination will also apply to those aged over 50 who are unemployed.
The vaccine mandate will apply to all over-50s resident in Italy, including "European and foreign citizens", according to news agency ANSA.
The measures will remain in force until 15 June.
Employees who fail to present a Super Green Pass will have their salary frozen.
The sweeping anti-covid measures were announced on Wednesday evening as part of the latest emergency decree.
Slow the curve
The government's aim is to "slow down the growth of the contagion curve and push Italians who still aren’t vaccinated to do so”, said premier Mario Draghi in a statement.
“We are acting in particular on age groups that are most at risk of hospitalisation, to reduce pressure on hospitals and save lives", the prime minister said.
Compulsory vaccination already applies to Italy's health workers, police, teachers and the military.
A Green Pass requirement in the workplace has been in force since 15 October, affecting 23 million public and private employees in Italy.
Under the system, unvaccinated workers can still access their place of work provided they present negative covid test results every couple of days.
After five days off work due to not having the Green Pass, employees' absence is regarded as "unjustified" and their employment is suspended and pay frozen, however nobody can be fired.
In addition to the new vaccine mandate, the government has once again expanded the scope of the Green Pass for additional services and activities.
From 20 January until 31 March, the Green Pass will be needed to access hairdressers, beauticians, banks, post offices, non-essential shops and shopping malls.
There are also new covid protocols for schools.
In primary schools, if one child in a class tests positive for covid, the students continue to attend lessons in the classroom, however if there are two or more cases then the class switches to distance learning, or "dad" (didattica a distanza) as it is known in Italy, for 10 days.
In middle and high schools, after three covid cases in the class, remote learning is triggered but only for the unvaccinated.
Those who are vaccinated can continue to attend class in person, with self-monitoring protocols in place and FFP2 masks mandatory.
The compulsory vaccination also applies to all university staff, regardless of their age, with the existing Green Pass requirement staying in place for students.
Smart working will continue to be encouraged in Italy for workers in both the public and private sector.
Difference between Green Pass and Super Green Pass
The Super Green Pass is a "reinforced" version of the "basic" Green Pass and can only be obtained by those who have been vaccinated or recovered from covid-19.
The Green Pass is a digital or paper certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.
The latest covid restrictions comes as Italy registered a record 189,109 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic.
For official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy (in English) see the health ministry website. Photo credit: MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com.
Cdm: #obbligo vaccinale per tutti gli #over50. Per i lavoratori pubblici e privati con 50 anni di età sarà necessario dal 15/2 il #GreenPass Rafforzato per l’accesso ai luoghi di lavoro. Senza limiti di età l’#obbligo vaccinale è esteso al personale universitario pic.twitter.com/1Hoa0SHHox
— Palazzo_Chigi (@Palazzo_Chigi) January 5, 2022