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England vaccine passport: How will this affect visitors from France?

It is planned that a Covid pass will be needed for entry into some venues in England, which follows Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in its imposition of the scheme

Vaccine passports will be needed for entry into certain large events in England Pic: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock

People in England are expected to have to show a Covid pass in order to enter into certain large venues from Wednesday, December 15. 

Under the UK government’s ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions – introduced as a result of the Omicron variant – face coverings will also be compulsory for most public indoor venues, including cinemas and places of worship. They will not however be required in hospitality settings. 

A Covid pass will equate to proof that you are fully vaccinated, or that you have had a negative PCR or lateral flow test result in the past 48 hours that has been reported on the NHS website. 

The measures have yet to be debated by parliament and approved, though this is expected to happen, probably the day before they are due to come in (Tuesday December 14). Regulations making the changes will be presented on Monday December 13, and are set to last six weeks, with a review after three weeks.

The establishments affected are: 

  • Nightclubs 
  • Indoor unseated events with more than 500 people 
  • Unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people 
  • Any event with more than 10,000 attendees

The pass requirement will not be as widespread as it is in France, and will not be extended to restaurants, bars and long-distance travel. Nor will it be needed for communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals or other commemorative events. Further detail of the specifics are expected in the coming days.

People who were vaccinated in the UK can access their Covid pass through the NHS app – or Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish equivalent – but if you were vaccinated abroad, you should be able to use your EU Digital Covid Certificate. 

This is because of the EU Gateway agreement made between the EU and the UK on November 1, which allows for reciprocal verification of the different European vaccination certification schemes. 

The NHS website states that: “This arrangement will allow the UK and all EU member states to scan their respective citizens’ Covid vaccination status using the EU Digital Covid Certificate.” 

It adds that “this will make it easier for UK citizens to get into museums, restaurants and other venues requiring proof of vaccination across the EU,” but its reciprocal nature should also make it easier for EU citizens in the UK. 

The Connexion has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care to confirm that French residents can simply show their EU certificate in the TousAntiCovid app or on paper, but we have not yet received a response. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that booster doses may eventually become a compulsory requirement of the English pass, as is already the case in France.

Children under 18 are exempt from having to show a Covid pass, unlike in France.

Vaccine passports are already in place in the other UK nations:

Wales 

Over-18s must show proof of vaccination or of a negative lateral flow test result from the last 48 hours to enter: 

  • Cinemas, theatres and concert halls
  • Nightclubs or similar venues
  • Indoor no-seating events with more than 500 people
  • Outdoor no-seating events with more than 4,000 people
  • Any event with more than 10,000 people, including sporting events

People eligible for the pass must apply through the NHS website.

Scotland 

Adults must show proof of vaccination or of a negative lateral flow or PCR test taken within the last 24 hours to enter: 

  • nightclubs
  • adult entertainment venues
  • indoor events with more than 500 people
  • unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people
  • any event with more than 10,000 people

Vaccination status can be present through the NHS Scotland Covid Status App, although English, Welsh and Northern Irish equivalents will also work at venues.

Northern Ireland 

Northern Ireland has also introduced a Covid pass scheme, but fixed penalty notices will only be issued for breaches from December 13. 

People who have had two vaccine doses can access their passport through the COVIDCert NI app, which is being used in: 

  • nightclubs
  • licensed hospitality premises, including "bring your own" alcohol venues
  • cinemas, theatres and conference halls
  • indoor events with 500 or more attendees with some or all of the audience not normally seated
  • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees with some or all of the audience not normally seated
  • events where more than 10,000 people will be present regardless of whether they are seated

If you do not have proof of vaccination, you can also use a negative lateral flow test from the last 48 hours or a positive PCR taken in the last 30-180 days. 

Related stories 

Third Covid dose vital, future doses may be needed, French senate told

UK travellers to France can take British antigen test for return trip

‘Incompatibility of French-UK Covid systems harming French ski season’

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