Italy Opts for ‘Hard Line’ in Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate for Workers

BOLZANO, ITALY - JULY 14: People receive their Covid-19 vaccine in one of two SASA buses equipped as vaccination centers, operating in the small towns of South Tyrol, on July 14, 2021 in Bolzano, Italy. Italy has administered some 58,213,710 doses of Covid vaccines to the population, accounting for 48.3% …
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ROME — Italy has singled itself out from the rest of Europe with strict new regulations requiring a vaccination “Green Pass” to be able to work.

As of October 15, all employees will need to show a vaccination Green Pass or proof of a recent negative coronavirus test in order to access their place of work. Anyone who goes to work without a certificate will be considered unjustifiably absent and will not be paid.

Businesses and employees could face fines of up to €1,500 ($1,765) if people are found to be working without a valid pass.

The Green Pass is equipped with a QR code whose scanning also leaves a precise record of where one has been along with verification of vaccination. Opponents of the pass have insisted that such location tracing violates European privacy laws and lends itself to possible abuses.

Young people wear protective masks inside a school classroom with separate desks for social distancing measures to prevent COVID 19 inside on September 13, 2021 in Turin, Italy. A vaccine certificate, called green pass in Italy, is compulsory for teachers and for anyone accessing schools, parents included. (Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

In implementing what France24 television has called “the strictest anti-covid measures in the world,” the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi is betting that the radical restrictions will boost the country’s international leadership status in the health field.

He is also gambling that the Italian people, who have been remarkably compliant in obeying the continuing “emergency measures” imposed by government, will not suddenly grow a spine and insist that enough is enough.

In extending the Green Pass requirement to workers, the Italian government will oblige some 18 million people to be vaccinated or face the economic consequences. Of these 18 million, 13.9 million workers are already vaccinated, while the remaining 4.1 million are not.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Denmark, which has abolished all prophylactic measures related to coronavirus, even aboard public transportation, in cinemas, and nightclubs.

People demonstrate against the introduction of a mandatory sanitary pass called “green pass” in the aim to limit the spread of the Covid-19, at the Piazza Porta Palazzo in central Turin on September 11, 2021 (TINO ROMANO/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images)

Among Italian politicians there has been little resistance to the mandatory Green Pass for workers, with the noteworthy exception of Lega leader Matteo Salvini, who has noted that the Italian coronavirus situation is largely under control, with intensive care units 95 percent empty.

“The position of the Lega is clear: we are for defending the health of citizens, including in the workplace. But you can’t think of extending the green pass obligation to 60 million Italians,” he said Wednesday.

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