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Cafes, trains, restaurants: France extends health pass, the new rules

President Emmanuel Macron last night announced plans to extend use of the pass to cinemas, restaurants, trains and even hospitals this summer

Person scanning a QR code in a cafe. Cafes, trains, restaurants: France extends health pass, the new rules

The pass will also be needed to access restaurants and cafés including terraces from July 21 Pic: Palidachan / Shutterstock

Use of the French health pass is to be widely extended, President Emmanuel Macron announced in a televised address last night (July 12).

The new rules will be introduced in several stages over summer in a bid to counter the spread of the Delta variant. 

The government hopes that extending use of the pass will encourage more people to get vaccinated in the next few weeks.

Health Minister Olivier Véran told BFMTV this morning: “What we want to avoid at all costs is confining the country again.”

Parliament will vote to pass the laws in a dedicated session scheduled for July 21.

Read more: 17,000 Covid vaccination slots a minute booked after Macron’s speech

What is the French health pass? 

The French health pass (pass sanitaire) is a paper or digital certificate that proves the bearer has been fully vaccinated, had a negative PCR test result taken within the past 48 hours or has had Covid and is considered immune.

Test results or proof of vaccination printed on paper can be used as a health pass, or QR codes on these results can be scanned into France’s Tous Anti Covid app where they will be stored in the form of a second QR code, which works as a digital form of the pass.

To be considered fully vaccinated the bearer of the pass must have received all doses of the vaccine (two for Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca and one for Johnson & Johnson) and also have waited enough time for the body to develop its immune response to the vaccine.

The time frames for this to occur are two weeks after receiving the second dose for the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, and four weeks after receiving the only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Everyone aged over 12-years-old can be asked to show health passes in these venues. The government has not yet specified whether the rules will be introduced later for the 12-18 age group, who have had the least access to vaccines so far.

Read more: How does French health pass work? 

Where will I need to use the health pass this summer?

Situation now

The rules for using the health pass have not changed yet.

Currently, you need to use the health pass to access cultural events with over 1,000 people, such as sports games and concerts, as well as nightclubs of any size.

The pass also eases travel outside of France as it can be used as part of the European digital certificate, smoothing between EU countries for pass bearers.

Read more: 15 FAQs on EU’s Covid Digital Certificate and France summer travel

From July 21

Use of the pass will be extended to cultural spaces with over 50 people. FranceInfo reported that these include: 

  • shows
  • theme parks
  • concerts
  • festivals
  • cinemas
  • theatres

From the beginning of August

Health passes will be used to enter spaces including: 

  • cafes
  • restaurants 
  • gyms
  • sports centres
  • hospitals (visitors)
  • elderly care homes 
  • social and medical care centres
  • long-distance train, coach and plane journeys 

The pass will also be needed to access restaurants and cafés including terraces, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal confirmed this morning (July 13). 

Staff working in these places will also have to show health passes to enter.

Who is responsible for checking health passes?

Work Minister Elisabeth Borne told LCI this morning that staff working in venues will be responsible for checking health passes.  

Speaking about bars and restaurants specifically, said: “People must understand [showing a pass] is not a choice.” 

The police and law enforcement will check that venues are asking to see passes. 

Related stories

Health pass extended, more vaccination: Macron’s anti-Covid measures

France Covid: Delta ‘dominant within days’, new measures under review

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