As COVID-19’s Delta variant continues to rear its ugly head, the Italian government announced on Thursday that within the country, proof of vaccination will be required if citizens are interested in visiting and patronizing museums. Beginning on August 6, the mandate also requires that Italians display proof of having received at least one vaccination dose in order to do things like sit indoors at restaurants, attend sporting events and visit theme parks. The country’s stringent new policy makes sense: Italy is one of the countries that was hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, Italy logged more deaths than in any other year since World War Two.
“The appeal to not getting vaccinated is an appeal to die,” Mario Draghi, the prime minister of Italy, said in a statement. “Without vaccinations we must close everything again.” In the United States, rumors and fears about the Delta variant have also been spreading, but the level of urgency is nowhere near how other countries have been responding. In addition to Italy, countries like Britain and France have been enforcing new policies regarding vaccination in order to determine that public events aren’t contaminated by the unvaccinated.
The new vaccination mandate in Italy allows “economic activities to stay open…with the guarantee of being surrounded by people who are not contagious,” Roberto Speranza, Italy’s minister of health, added. Italy is partially defined by its museums and commitment to cultural promotion, but it also struggles with ongoing problems like the slow erosion of Venice and tourists who refuse to respect the integrity of its history. Additionally, according to the New York Times, 15 percent of teachers in Italy remain unvaccinated. Though people all over the world are eager to begin visiting museums again, it appears that the long shadow of the pandemic has not entirely abated.