VILNIUS – The Lithuanian government gave the green light on Wednesday to roll out on May 24 the so-called "Freedom ID" for people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have already had the coronavirus, or have a negative test result.
This will allow eligible people to bypass certain coronavirus lockdown restrictions, such as dining indoors or attending large events and parties.
"The Freedom ID would be aimed specifically at people who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered from the virus," Health Minister Arunas Dulkys told the Cabinet while presenting the proposal.
"Also, it is our political decision to make it available to those who have a test taken no earlier than 24 hours ago, and to children aged under 16 years," he said.
Restaurants, cafes, bars, gambling venues and betting shops will be able to serve Freedom ID holders indoors. Nightclubs will remain closed, however.
Events for up to 500 Freedom ID holders will be allowed both indoors and outdoors, but with no more than 75 percent of seats occupied. Currently, events of up to 150 people are permitted, but no more than a third of the seat can be occupied.
The pass will allow holders to hold private parties for an unlimited number of guests, and to return to contact work.
Eligible people will be able to gather in public places in groups of up to ten, twice the currently allowed maximum number.
The pass will also lift the requirement for accommodation establishments to allow only members of one family live in one room.
People will become eligible for a Freedom ID a week after their second shot of the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine, and four weeks after the Johnson & Johnson jab or the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. A person will have to get the second AstraZeneca jab after 12 weeks to remain eligible.
The pass will also be available to people who have had the virus and those having a negative PCR or antigen test done within the past 24 hours, as well as to all children aged under 16 years.
Economy and Innovation Minister Ausrine Armonaite plans to give a news conference on May 20 to give more details about how the new scheme will work.
The system will be administered by the Center of Registers.
Dulkys said that the Health Ministry is working to provide access to testing to all those who need it to obtain a Freedom ID.
Armonaite noted that while an EU-wide green certificate will facilitate travel, the Freedom ID will allow reopening more activities within the country.
The Economy and Innovation Ministry said earlier that the Freedom ID would be a QR code that would be available to those meeting the criteria.
Armonaite said earlier that the pass could be rolled out in late May as a temporary solution until the mass vaccination campaign picks up speed and the EU-wide green certificate is rolled out.