People in Italy not vaccinated against COVID-19 can no longer go to theaters, cinemas, concert halls or major sporting events under the new rules that came into effect on Monday.
Only those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 are exempt from the rules, which represents a significant tightening of restrictions in the face of rising infections.
New measures are also being enforced on public transport, with a so-called Green Pass showing proof of vaccination, recent recovery or a negative COVID-19 test now required even on local services.
A man in his 50s was fined 400 euros for not having his pass on Monday morning as he got off a bus near Piazza del Popolo in Rome, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
“I don’t have it because I wanted to get vaccinated in the next few days,” he reportedly said.
A record 1.3 million green passes were uploaded on Sunday ahead of the change.
Meanwhile in Rome over the weekend, new rules requiring the wearing of face masks outside on the busiest shopping streets have come into force.
Italy was the first European country to be affected by the coronavirus in early 2020 and has one of the highest death tolls, with more than 134,000.
However, it is currently doing better than many of its neighbors, with 15,000 cases reported Sunday out of a population of 60 million.
Nearly 85% of those over 12 have been vaccinated, a booster campaign is in full swing and vaccines will soon be available for the youngest.
The Green Pass was introduced in August for access to theaters and cinemas, museums and indoor dining rooms, and extended to workplaces in October – a move that sparked widespread protests.
By January 15, a new “Green Super Pass”, which can only be obtained through vaccination or recent recovery, will be required for cultural activities – but not museums – and inside restaurants.
However, having a coffee at a cafe bar and eating out is allowed without a Green Pass.
Restrictions will be further tightened in areas at higher risk for coronavirus.
Currently, most of Italy is ranked at the lowest of four levels, which range from white to yellow, orange and red.
Two regions are yellow – Friuli Venezia Giulia and Bolzano, both of which border Austria, a country partially stranded due to the number of cases there.
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