Vatican clarifies COVID-19 vaccine pass rules for employees

People wearing face coverings walk past St. Peter’s Basilica. People wearing face coverings walk past St. Peter’s Basilica. | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

The Vatican on Tuesday provided more information about the enforcement of rules obliging visitors and employees of the city-state to have a COVID-19 vaccine pass.

From Oct. 1, all visitors and personnel will be required to show a digital or paper COVID Certificate proving they have been vaccinated, have recovered from the coronavirus, or have tested negative for the disease, to enter Vatican City and its territories.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, issued a decree on Sept. 28 stating that Vatican employees or officials who do not follow the regulation will not be allowed to enter their place of work and must be considered “unjustified absent.” Pay will be withheld for all days of unjustified absence.

Any requests for exemption from the COVID-19 pass rule will be assessed by the Secretariat of State in consultation with the health and hygiene office of the Governorate of Vatican City State, the ordinance said.

Personnel who do not have the COVID-19 pass issued by the Italian state, called a “Green Pass,” can alternatively show a negative COVID-19 test result to access their workplace. Employees will be responsible for testing costs, according to the decree.

It also noted that the Vatican’s health and hygiene department will decide for how long the test results are valid. Italy’s Green Pass has a validity of 48 hours for rapid antigen tests and 72 hours for molecular tests.

Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the president of Vatican City State, issued the COVID-19 pass ordinance on Sept. 20.

He said that the regulations were being implemented at the request of Pope Francis, who asked the authorities “to take all appropriate measures to prevent, control and combat the ongoing public health emergency in the Vatican City State.”

Under the new rules, Catholics going to Mass or confession in St. Peter’s Basilica, or in other churches on Vatican territory, will not need to have the COVID-19 pass.

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