6000 businesses in France say they will not ask public for health pass

A website allows service providers to declare they will not ask for the ‘pass sanitaire’ – but some establishments have found other ways to get around the new rules

22 July 2021
Restaurant terrace with empty chairs. 6000 businesses in France say they will not ask public for health pass

Most restaurants that have signed up to the site are based outside of major cities Pic: Song_about_summer / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

Over 6,000 restaurant and shop owners have registered on a site to declare that they will not ask visitors to show a health pass (pass sanitaire).

Animap.fr describes itself as a “non-discriminatory platform” for service providers who “respect human dignity and will not use discriminatory practices” against their clients. 

It should be noted that not all service providers who have signed up to the site have been requested to use the health pass by the government.

Use of the health pass was yesterday (July 21) extended to cultural and leisure spaces accommodating over 50 visitors, including museums, theme parks, sports facilities, places of worship and conference halls.

Explained: What changes with France’s Covid health pass on July 21

To enter these spaces, visitors need to show a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours, proof of full vaccination or proof of having already been infected with Covid-19. 

From the beginning of August, the same measure is expected to be introduced for spaces including in bars, restaurants, cafes, hospitals and for long-distance travel within France, subject to parliamentary approval, which could be given by the end of this week.

Protestors last week marched against extending the use of the health pass on the grounds that it was an attack on civil liberties. 

Read more: Health pass infringes rights of children and poor says rights defender

Service providers ‘not worried’ about fines

In Paris, Marseille and Lyon only three restaurants have signed up on Animap – one in each city. 

Take-up has been larger in rural areas. In the 13,000-person commune of Combret, Aveyron, the restaurant l’Auberge de la Tour is on the list.

The owner told The Connexion they had seen an increase in customers since signing up with Animap four months ago, to protest being asked to take customers’ names and contact details for track and trace procedures. 

They said they were not worried about the possible €1,500 initial fine for not asking customers to show health passes. 

“I’ve never been checked by the police here. We have a big terrace, and I never serve more than 20 customers per day. The restrictions don’t concern us here. They are handed down from so far away,” they said.

On the site, service providers can choose to hide their email, website and phone number.

In Nice, naturopath Isabelle Calon said she did not have to provide any proof her company was registered with a Siret number when signing up. “That’s not Animap’s mentality. They are not there to track people,” she told The Connexion.

Under government proposals, Ms Calon would not be required to demand a health pass from her clients. 

Cinemas avoid using health pass with small screenings

Other establishments have found alternative methods to avoid using the health pass, with some cinemas setting a limit of 49 people at screenings.

This technically exempts them from checking health passes, which only need to be used in spaces with more than 50 people. 

The Cinéville cinema in Vern-sur-Seiche, Brittany, is offering two different screening options – one with a pass check and one without.

The second is limited to showings before midday or after 22:00, with visitors restricted to a maximum of 49 people per screen.

Director General of Cinéville, Yves Sutter, told France 3: “Many people in France have not been fully vaccinated yet. We have found this solution for us, economically, and for those people who want to come to the cinema.” 

He said the reaction had been “very positive” among people who felt “excluded from going to the cinema” by the health pass rules, especially families in which not all members are vaccinated yet.

ID checks not required with health pass

This comes as Prime Minister Jean Castex said yesterday that establishments would not have to check visitors’ proof of identity along with the health pass, as previously suggested. 

Mr Castex said that “checks of personal identity – meaning checks to verify that an identity is not fraudulent ­– are of a higher level” meaning they can only be carried out by law enforcement or management.  

He added that establishments using the health pass from yesterday would be given a one-week grace period to iron out the logistics, with sanctions for not using the pass enforced from next week. 

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