Covid-19 green passes come into force in Georgia - Here is what you need to know about them
Covid-19 green passports come into force in Georgia
Starting from December 1, the so-called green passports (or “green passes”) come into force in Georgia.
This means that those, whose status is not “green”, that is, those who haven’t been vaccinated with two doses, haven’t had a PCR test within the last 72 hours, a rapid test within the last 24 hours, or haven’t recovered from Covid-19, will no longer be allowed in cafes and restaurants, casinos, cinemas and a number of other establishments.
What is green status and who is it assigned to? What document is needed to prove the status? How to get such document? Does it have to be printed out or is it enough to have it in a mobile phone? What restrictions will be introduced ?
JAMnews has prepared a detailed guide.
What is green status and green passport?
Green status is assigned to the people who meet either one of the following criteria:
- Vaccinated with two doses of any Covid-19 vaccine;
- Have already recovered from Covid-19;
- Have taken a PCR test within the last 72 hours;
- Have made an express test for antigen within the last 24 hours.
Such a person (subject to a negative test result) is assigned a “green status”.
The document confirming this status is the Green Passport / Covid Passport – a special document with a QR code.
A green passport essentially means one does not pose a threat to the society.
Where can one get a green passport?
Green passport is issued by all clinics where vaccination is administered.
Keep in mind that you can only get green status after getting two doses of vaccine.
You can also get a “green passport” at the House of Justice and its community centers.
In this institution, it is not necessary to call and book a visit in advance. Recently, however, queues have often lined up in the Houses of Justice. This should be taken into account if you plan to receive a document there.
Do I have to have a printed document?
This is not necessary.
Covid passport exists in electronic form and if you activate it electronically, you will no longer be required to have a paper document with you at all times.
To activate your QR code electronically, you need to download mobile applications on your smartphone – Georgia e-Health or CovidPass Georgia. Both apps will give you a green passport if you meet the necessary criteria. The difference is that CovidPass Georgia is valid only on the territory of Georgia.
After downloading the app and registering in it, you activate the QR code that stores your entire Covid history:
- Date of vaccination and type of vaccine,
- Recent results of PCR and antigen tests,
- Your infection status – and whether you transferred the virus
The owner of the establishment will be fined for letting in a person without a “green status”, so it is in their best interest to scrupulously check everyone who comes in.
The fine is quite high: 2,000 lari (approx. 640 USD) for an individual entrepreneur and 10,000 lari ( approx. 3,200 USD) for a legal entity.
According to the Labor Inspectorate, periodic scheduled and unscheduled inspections will be carried out at the facilities. If it detected that a certain establishment systematically violates the regulations, then it will be sealed, and its activities will be temporarily suspended.
How will the facilities check your status?
A person with a smartphone or a device for reading QR codes will stand at the entrance to the establishment to check your QR code. You will only be allowed in if your status is “green”.
Can green passport expire?
It depends on how you get this status.
If you are not going to get vaccinated and choose undergo tests to get the green status, then you should remember that the PCR or express test should be repeated every time after the expiration date.
In the case of the PCR test, the green status lasts for 72 hours, and in the case of the rapid antigen test – 24 hours. Keep in mind that tests are paid and each time you have to do them at your own expense.
By the decision of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, persons who have recovered from Covid in Georgia will be granted life-long “green status”.
However, Garibashvili’s initiative has already caused discontent among epidemiologists and specialists.
They point out that the status of “perpetual green passport” is not valid in any country except Georgia, because Covid-19 does not leave lasting, permanent immunity even after recovery.
There are also many cases of re-infection in Georgia. According to the National Center for Disease Control, up to 5,000 such cases have been identified in the country.
Therefore, it is possible that Garibashvili’s initiative will be revised.
However, even if the discussion of the “permanent green status” in Georgia is not continued and this decision remains in force, this status will not be valid during travel. Garibashvili’s “indefinite status” will come in handy domestically, while abroad you will need a present a negative test or vaccination certificate.
Thus, if you have recovered from Covid-19 more than 6 months ago and have a “green status” (and are not going to get vaccinated), you will not be allowed to cross the border or will not be allowed to enter any other country.
What else will change on December 1?
According to the decision of the Government Coordinating Council, the allowed number of visitors to cinemas and theaters will increase from 30% to 50% of the halls’ capacity.
Also, from December 1, hourly restrictions on the operation of restaurants will be lifted. Until now, restaurants were only allowed to work until 23:00.
From December 1st, the following regulations will remain in force:
- Compulsory mask-wearing in open spaces and indoors;
- Crowded weddings, commemorations, banquets, various anniversaries, etc. are still prohibited;
- Nightclubs are still prohibited, both in open and closed spaces;
- Camp-type events are still prohibited.
Do I need a Covid passport in shopping centers and markets?
Green passport will not be required at the entrance to shopping centers. You will not need it in clothing, food, technology and any other stores located in the malls (unless a particular store requires it on its own initiative), nor in pharmacies. However, in entertainment centers, cinemas, cafes, restaurants and other similar places in the mall, you will definitely be checked for “green status”.
Why was the concept of “green status” introduced?
`By introducing the concept of “green status”, the government is trying to stimulate vaccinations in the country.
As of November 30, only 35% of the Georgian population got fully vaccinated. Infection and death rates are still very high.