Vatican City, Sep 20, 2021 / 08:15 am (CNA).
The Vatican will require all visitors and personnel to show a COVID-19 pass proving they have been vaccinated, have recovered from the coronavirus, or have tested negative for the disease in order to enter the city state beginning Oct. 1.
To enter Vatican territory, tourists and other visitors, employees, and officials will be required to show a digital or paper Covid Certificate issued by the Vatican or another country, according to an ordinance published Sept. 20.
The president of Vatican City State, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, issued the ordinance at the request of Pope Francis, who asked “to take all appropriate measures to prevent, control and combat the ongoing public health emergency in the Vatican City State.”
Under the new order, Catholics attending liturgical celebrations at the Vatican will be an exception to the vaccine rule. People will be allowed to access a liturgy “for the time strictly necessary for the conduct of the rite,” while also following distancing and masking rules.
Italy’s vaccine passport, called the “Green Pass,” requires proof of vaccination against COVID-19, proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the previous six months, or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.
On Sept. 17, the Italian government approved an expansion to the Green Pass, making it a requirement for all private and public workplaces beginning Oct. 15.
Employees who do not have the pass could be suspended without pay or be forced to pay a fine of up to roughly $1,800.
Since Aug. 1, Italy has required the vaccine pass to enter certain indoor venues, such as restaurants and museums, and in September the pass also became necessary for travel within the country. The vaccine pass was already required for certain workplaces, such as hospitals and schools.
The ordinance mandating COVID-19 vaccination for visitors and employees of Vatican City State was signed Sept. 18, the day after Italy’s government expanded its vaccination mandate to the public and private sectors.
Vatican gendarmes will be responsible for checking vaccine passes at entrances to Vatican territory, according to the ordinance.
The order says Pope Francis, in a Sept. 7 meeting with Vatican City President Bertello, “affirmed that it is necessary to ensure the health and wellness of the work Community in respect of the dignity, rights, and fundamental liberty of every member.”
From Oct. 1, it will be required to have the Green Pass to enter St. Peter’s Basilica as a tourist.
In Italy, many historic Catholic churches which charge tourists ticket fares to enter had already required the Green Pass.
Since August, proof of coronavirus vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test has been required for tourists who wish to visit the Duomo in Florence, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, and many of Italy’s most famous Catholic cathedrals.
Among the hundreds of churches in Rome, only the Pantheon has required the Green Pass for tourists. And the Pantheon, which was transformed into the Basilica of Santa Maria ad Martyres in the 7th century, does not require the pass for entrance to its Masses.