Italy makes COVID-19 health pass mandatory for all workers

Published on : Friday, September 17, 2021

The Italian government approved that some of the strictest anti-COVID measures in the world, making it obligatory for all workers either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection.

The new rules came into force on October 15 in the latest effort by Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad coalition to persuade people to get inoculated and blunt contagion in one of the countries worst-hit by the virus.

Any worker who fails to present a valid health certificate will be suspended on no pay, but cannot be sacked; ministers told reporters after the cabinet approved the measures.

People who ignore the decree and go to work regardless will face a fine of between 600 to 1,500 euros ($705-$1,175). The sanction for employers will be 400-1000 euros.

Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said that nothing like this has been done in Europe … we are putting ourselves in the forefront internationally.

He added that the government expected an “enormous” acceleration of jabs simply by the announcement of the decree, so that much of its desired effect could be achieved before it actually comes into effect in a month’s time.

While some European Union states have ordered their health workers to get vaccines, none have made the so-called “Green Pass” mandatory for all employees, making Italy a test case for the continent.

This health pass was originally conceived to ease travel around Europe, but Italy was among a group of countries that swiftly also made it a requirement for those wanting to access venues such as museums, gyms and indoor dining in restaurants.

Draghi, who was not present at Thursday’s news conference, had previously faced resistance against his extension of the Green Pass from right-wing leader Matteo Salvini, one of the main stakeholders in his government.

However, Salvini’s League party is split on the issue and the cabinet finally approved the decree unanimously.

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