With coronavirus cases rising again, Italy plans to require a "green pass" to visit its world-famous museums, take in sporting events, and dine inside its restaurants.
The requirement, similar to a measure recently approved in France, is set to go into effect Aug. 6. To obtain the pass, people will need to have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine in the previous nine months or be able to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 48 hours. Anyone who has recently recovered from COVID-19 also is eligible for the pass, which already is required to attend weddings and to visit residential care centers in Italy.
The passes are meant to allow people to do the things they enjoy "with the assurance they won't be next to contagious people," Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in a news briefing covered by the Associated Press.
It's unclear how foreign tourists, including those from the U.S., would obtain an official green pass or whether documents from their home countries would suffice.
Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images ROME, ITALY - JUNE 01: Tourists with protective masks in the Sistine Chapel admire Michelangelo's frescoes, on the occasion of the reopening of the Vatican Museums in phase two after the lockdown due to the Coronavirus emergency
In France, some travelers have been able to show their CDC vaccine cards to French doctors and pharmacists to obtain local COVID passes, the U.S. Embassy said. On Saturday night in Paris, club bouncers were already checking vaccination status ahead of the French rule change and accepting photos of CDC cards with matching identification.
In Italy, green passes could eventually be required for train, bus, and plane travel, a measure officials are set to reconsider in September, according to the Guardian. But even a green pass won't allow access to Italian nightclubs, which remain closed.
Italy was among the first European countries hit by the pandemic in early 2020 and has reported the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths in Europe, only behind the U.K. Italy has reported more than 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 128,000 deaths, according to the latest available data from the World Health Organization.
Over 21 million Italians — about one-third of the country's population — have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, WHO reports.
"I invite all Italians to get vaccinated and to do so straight away. Without vaccinations, we'd have to close everything again," Draghi told reporters in Rome.
Italy began easing its latest round of COVID restrictions in late April. An estimated 40 million people have already obtained green passes, Italy's health minister told the AP.