Unvaccinated Italians Now Barred from Public Transport Unless Recently Recovered from COVID

Italian lawmakers added new restrictions on January 10, 2022, including proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus, to use public transportation and enter shops, gyms and other locations.

Italy's COVID-19 cases surpassed 100,000 in one day. These new restrictions are the government's response to curtail the recent Omicron wave, which comes after many Italian citizens return to school and work after the December holidays.

While nearly 86 percent of Italy's over-12 population is fully vaccinated, 2 million people are currently testing positive for the virus. The government's new restrictions, which limit Italians from both recreations and essential activities, encourage those who have yet to get the vaccine to do so. Citizens can no longer just show a negative COVID test if they hope to use public transportation such as the bus or subway. These new restrictions even limit citizens' entry into places such as coffee shops, gyms and hotels.

Italians have supported past mask mandates and the new restrictions, including police checking train commuters' vaccine status and enforcing wearing proper Ffp2 face masks, now required on public transportation.

Carola Pasqualotto, a member of the Imperi sport center that checks vaccination status at the front desk, said she is happy with the new restrictions, according to Euro News.

"I am in favor of mandatory vaccines for all," Pasqualotto said.

Premier Mario Draghi, who is expected to hold a press conference to explain the new mandates, recently faced criticism for mandating anyone over 50 to receive the vaccine. The fine for noncompliance starts at 100 euros ($113), which critics say makes the new mandates "toothless."

Italy Public Transport Social Distancing
Italian lawmakers added new restrictions on January 10, 2022, including proof of vaccination or recovery from the virus, to use public transportation and enter shops, gyms and other locations. Above, an Atac bus (Tramways Company and Coach of the Municipality of Rome) with signs in seats that cannot be occupied, so as to allow the physical distance of one metre between passengers of fifty percent of the vehicle's transport capacity in the coronavirus prevention measures on May 04, 2020, in Rome, Italy. Stefano Montesi-Corbis

Italy was the location of Europe's first coronavirus outbreak in February 2020. Nearly 75 percent of the vaccinated are currently eligible to receive a booster shot.

The recent surge impacts essential services, causing labor shortages since many people are currently in quarantine. Train services have been hindered and school districts even claimed they could not reopen since they do not have enough teachers.

Doctors' associations, meanwhile, have said the surge is hitting Italy's hospitals hard. Some 16,000 COVID-19 patients are in the hospital and 1,600 are in intensive care, but that is well short of the 4,000 people in intensive care units during the height of the first wave. Officials say around two-thirds of those now hospitalized are unvaccinated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

New COVID Restrictions Italy
2 million people out of Italy’s population of 60 million are currently positive, impacting essential services. Above, a nurse at work in the Maxi-Hub Valentino Center, during the Covid Booster day on January 03, 2022, in Turin, Italy. Diego Puletto/Getty Images