New test rules for French health pass from August 9

The pass will be needed in public places including restaurants and some shopping centres if set by the local prefect, but not GP surgeries. Tests can now be from within 72 hours instead of 48

8 August 2021
By Hannah Thompson

Health passes in France will be valid with a test taken within the past 72 hours, or proof of vaccination, from tomorrow (August 9), and will be needed to access places including restaurants and bars.

All adults will need a pass, except if they are exempt for a medical reason. Minors aged 12-17 will need a pass from September 30. 

The pass will be required for access to:

  • Cafes, restaurants, and bars, including those inside shopping centres
  • Health establishments, except in case of emergency (see below)
  • Some shopping centres larger than 20,000m2 if mandated by local prefects
  • Long-distance transport within France, such as long-distance trains (such as on TGVs Inoui and Ouigo) and on domestic flights. Air France has created a "Ready to Fly" checking service that passengers can use ahead of their flight, which includes the health pass.
  • Culture and leisure spaces such as museums and cinemas, regardless of their capacity
  • Communal spaces in hotels such as the restaurant, bar, swimming pool, or spa
  • Events being held at religious centres, such as concerts or conferences 
  • Events such as weddings being held in public spaces

It will not be required for access to:

  • Essential shops inside any commercial centres
  • Public transport stations inside any commercial centres
  • GP surgeries
  • Emergency care in hospitals, or where denying access would cause people to miss out on necessary healthcare
  • Tabacs, newsagents, bakeries, or in takeaways (except if you are eating on-site)
  • Normal services at religious sites such as churches
  • Access to educational establishments for students or pupils

To be valid, the health pass will need to show either: 

  • Proof of a negative PCR or antigen test from within the last 72 hours, or
  • Proof of vaccination, or
  • A certificate proving recovery from Covid-19.

The official decree on these health pass rules was published today (August 8) in the Journal Officiel.

How to get your pass

If you are vaccinated: You will have received proof of vaccination from your vaccination centre. You can also scan the QR code on the TousAntiCovid smartphone app and save your pass there.

You can also go on to the Assurance maladie website to download your proof of vaccination, which you can then print or add to the app. You can also ask a healthcare worker to print it for you.

If you are not vaccinated: You need to take a PCR or antigen test and show a negative result less than 72 hours afterwards. A negative certificate will be given to you in the lab or centre where your test was done, either in paper hard copy, SMS, or email. You can then add the proof to the TousAntiCovid app. 

If you have had Covid, a positive test result at least 11 days old is valid for six months.

Shopping centres

Local prefects will have the power to require the health pass for access to large shopping centres over 20,000m2, “where their characteristics and the seriousness of the risks of contamination so justify, and under conditions guaranteeing people's access to essential goods and services and, where appropriate, to means of transport”.

This means that people will still be guaranteed access to essential shops, and to public transport hubs within commercial centres, even if they do not have a pass (see bullet point list above).

The decree states: “If one of these documents is not presented, access to the establishment, place, service or event shall be refused, except for persons who have a medical contraindication to vaccination.”

Healthcare venues

The health pass will be needed for access to a hospital, except in an emergency situation, or when denying access would cause people to miss out on necessary healthcare. 

It will not be needed for access to GP surgery appointments, Health Minister Olivier Véran has confirmed.

Culture and leisure sites

A pass has been required since July 21 in all sites with capacity for at least 50 people, including museums, cinemas, theatres, sports halls, and zoos. This 50-people threshold will no longer apply from August 9, and the health pass will be required for all such sites regardless of capacity.

Negative tests now 48 hours not 72

Previously, the negative test shown had to be from within the past 48 hours. This has now been extended to 72 hours, the minister said.

Healthcare workers and mandatory vaccination

Healthcare workers have until September 15 to have their first mandatory injection, but they still need to present a valid health pass from tomorrow even if they are yet to be vaccinated.

 

Other workers

From August 30, the health pass measures will also apply to “employees, public workers, volunteers and other persons who work or volunteer in the places, establishments, services or events concerned; when their activity takes place in spaces and at times when they are accessible to the public, with the exception of delivery activities and except for emergency intervention", the text adds.

It also specifies that the wearing of a mask "may be made compulsory by the departmental prefect when local circumstances justify it, as well as by the operator or organiser".

How will the pass be checked?

It will be checked using an app specially designed for the purpose: TousAntiCovid Vérif. It is designed to be used by professionals to scan and check passes.

You must present your QR code on paper or in your app. The checking app will appear green if your pass is valid, and red if it is not. 

Your pass can be checked by any worker or staff member in the establishment you are trying to enter, but only law enforcement officers are permitted to check your ID. 

What data is visible on my pass?

  • The validity of your pass
  • Your first name and surname
  • Your date of birth

No other details, such as how you obtained the pass (e.g. via vaccination or negative test) will be shown.

Fraud measures

The government is set to introduce tough sanctions to combat health pass fraud, including those who try to use someone else’s health pass as their own; those who use a fake pass; or those found to be selling fake certificates.

  • Presenting a fraudulent health pass: €750 fine, reduced to €135 if paid quickly. Second offence within 15 days, fine rises to €1,500. Third offence within 30 days, €3,750 and up to six months in prison.
  • Employer failing to ensure staff meet rules for pass and vaccination: €1,000 fine, rising to €9,000 and up to a year in prison for the third offence.
  • Companies failing to ensure: Fines of up to €45,000.

When will the pass be needed until?

So far, the government has said that the passes will be in use until at least November 15.

Do I still need a mask if I have a pass?

The law states that "the obligation to wear a mask does not apply to people who have accessed establishments, public places, services and events" via the use of a valid health pass.

The only exception is on public transport, such as TGVs, buses and planes.

Masks will still be required in shopping centres, except those where the lock prefect has required health passes upon entry.

Vaccination goals

Mr Véran said that the use of the pass, and continued vaccination, was aiming to avoid further “curfews and lockdowns”. He said that the country was aiming to have at least 50 million people vaccinated with at least one injection by the end of August.

In an interview with Le Parisien, published today, he said: “We're currently doing between 300,000 and 400,000 primary injections per day, and we're already at over 44 million. 

“We expect a dip in the middle of August, but the target of 50 million first injections by the end of the month, or more than 85% of the 58 million French people who can be vaccinated, should be reached.”

A defence council (conseil de défense; Covid cabinet) meeting is set to be held on Wednesday, August 11 by videoconference. The agenda will include how and when to introduce third or booster vaccinations to the most vulnerable people in the country.

The confirmation of the rules come as more than 237,000 people marched against the pass yesterday.

Related stories

237,000 march against health pass rules in France
Checklist: Where and when should I use the French Covid health pass?
French court validates health pass but rejects obligatory quarantine

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