Ljubomir MILASIN, Alvise ARMELLINI
Italy will require all workers to show a coronavirus health pass from Friday, one of the world’s toughest anti-Covid regimes that has already sparked riots and which many fear will cause “chaos”.
More than 85 percent of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, making them eligible for the so-called Green Pass certificate.
But according to various estimates, about 2.5 million of the country’s 23 million workers are unvaccinated, and risk being denied access to the workplace from October 15.
“You have no idea of the chaos that we will have in firms,” the president of the heavily industrialised northern Veneto region, Luca Zaia, said recently.
Unvaccinated workers can still get a Green Pass by getting tested for coronavirus or with a certificate of recovery, if they contracted the virus within the previous six months.
If they instead opt to qualify though testing, they have to take them at their own expense, and repeat them every 48 hours.
Zaia suggested there was not enough testing capacity to meet potential demand, raising the prospect of mass absenteeism from work.
“The entrepreneurs I talk to are very worried,” he said.
Green passes are already required for teachers and other school workers, and for other activities such as eating indoors in bars and restaurants, or going to the cinema, museums and football games.
– Avoid lockdowns –
But they are not popular, at least among a sizeable minority — as shown by last Saturday’s riots in Rome, where an anti-pass demonstration degenerated into an assault on the CGIL trade union building led by the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party.
Anyone caught in the workplace without a Green Pass risks fines ranging from 600 to 1,500 euros ($700-1700).
And those who fail to turn up for work because they don’t have one face suspension on no pay — but cannot be fired.
Meanwhile, employers can be fined 400-1,000 euros for not checking if their staff comply with the rules.