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Italy: New COVID-19-Related Measures for Education, Social, and Transportation-Related Activities Enter into Effect

On August 7, 2021,  Decree Law No. 111 of 2021  (D.L. No. 111), containing urgent measures for education, social, and transportation-related activities aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19, entered into effect in Italy. The new law also addresses the impact of a cyberattack on a regional COVID-19 vaccination database.   Measures to Avoid Spreading COVID-19 During the 2021–2022 Academic Year While legislation passed earlier during the pandemic mandated remote learning, D.L. No. 111 provides that education throughout Italy in the 2021–2022 school year will occur in person. This includes the kindergarten, primary school, first two grades of secondary school, and university levels. (Art. 1(1).) Because the state of emergency due to COVID-19 is currently set to expire in Italy on December 31, 2021, the new legislation adopts the following minimum measures for the national education system and universities: (a) the mandatory use of respiratory protection devices, except by children under the age of six, people with medical conditions incompatible with the use of such devices, and athletes in the performance of a sport; (b) the recommendation that people maintain a distance of at least one meter (3.3 feet) from one another unless the structural or organizational condition of a building makes this impossible; and (c) a prohibition against individuals with respiratory symptoms or a body temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) entering or remaining on school or university premises. (Art. 1(2)(a)–(c).) The authorities may exempt classes composed of vaccinated students or students who carry a valid recovery certificate from the restrictive measures. (Art. 1(3).) Italy’s regional authorities can exempt their localities from in-person classes in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks or where there is an extremely high risk of spreading the virus or its variants in the school population. (Art. 1(4).) COVID-19 Green Pass at School and University Levels From September 1, 2021, until December 31, 2021, all school staff in the national education and university system, as well as university students, must possess and display a COVID-19 green pass. (Decree-Law No. 52 of 2021, art. 9-ter(1), as amended by D.L. No. 111, art. 1(6).) Failure to comply is considered an unjustified absence, and starting from the fifth day of absence, the employment relationship and all remuneration are suspended. (Decree-Law No. 52 of 2021, art. 9-ter(2), as amended by D.L. No. 111, art. 1(6).) These provisions do not apply to individuals exempt from the vaccination campaign under a medical certificate issued according to criteria defined by the Ministry of Health. (Decree-Law No. 52 of 2021, art. 9-ter(1), as amended by D.L. No. 111, art. 1(3).) School managers and those responsible for children’s educational services, as well as private schools and universities, are required to verify compliance with these requirements. (Decree-Law No. 52 of 2021, art. 9-ter(4), as amended by D.L. No. 111, art. 1(6).) These provisions also apply, as compatible, to institutions of higher artistic, musical, and dance training, and to the activities of other higher education institutions connected to universities. (Decree-Law No. 52 of 2021, art. 9-ter(7), as amended by D.L. No. 111, art. 1(6).) The legislation establishes a national extraordinary commissioner for the implementation and coordination of the measures for containing the COVID-19 emergency. (Decree-Law No. 52 of 2021, art. 9-ter(9), as amended by D.L. No. 111, art. 1(6).) Use of COVID-19 Green Passes in Transportation Systems From September 1, 2021, until December 31, 2021, only individuals carrying green passes will be allowed onto the following means of transportation: (a) commercial passenger aircraft, (b) ships and ferries used for interregional transport services, except those used for maritime connections in the Strait of Messina, (c) intercity trains and high-speed railway passenger systems, (d) buses used for passenger transport services carried out continuously or periodically on a route that connects more than two regions according to preestablished itineraries, timetables, frequencies, and prices, and (e) buses used for rental services with a driver, with the exception of those used in additional local and regional public transport services. (Decree-Law No. 52 of 2021, art. 9-quarter(a)-(e), as amended by D.L. No. 111, art. 2(1).) Air, sea, and land carriers must verify compliance with these requirements. (D.L. No. 111, art. 2(3).) Requirements for Other Activities Public participation in outdoor sporting events and competitions is allowed as long as measures ensuring  distancing of at least one meter are adopted. (D.L. No. 111, art. 4(1).) Concerning indoor athletic activities, participation at up to 35% of the maximum authorized capacity is allowed. (D.L. No. 111, art. 4(2).) Measures to Tackle the Effects of Cyberattacks on the COVID-19 Vaccination Database Between the night of July 31, 2021, and the morning of August 1, 2021, a ransomware cyberattack on the COVID-19 Vaccination Registration Portal of the Lazio region stopped new vaccination appointments for days, with the result that the “ sensitive data of thousands of citizens might have ended up in the hands of the hackers .” To reduce the negative consequences of the attack, the new legislation suspends the deadlines in administrative proceedings managed by the Lazio Region pending or started after the attack until September 15, 2021. Italian prosecutors are probing terrorism as a cause for the cyberattack . The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Europol are assisting the Italian postal police in the probe . The authorities clarified that the “attack would not stop people being issued the Green Pass vaccine passport after jabs.” (D.L. No. 111, art. 7(1).)

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