France’s Culture Minister has ruled out the idea of people using a Covid vaccination passport to gain entry to museums or other culture spaces, calling it an “attack on our freedoms”.
“As a freedom-lover, I can hardly imagine that. If it came to that, it would be a step backwards," Roselyne Bachelot said in an interview on television channel France 2 today (February 10).
The idea of the passport would be to show whether people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and to allow them special rights, be it for travel or entry to certain places. Several European countries such as Spain, Denmark and Estonia have signalled their interest in developing such passports to facilitate a return to travel.
France’s Europe Minister Clément Beaune has said it is too early to be discussing the concept and the World Health Organisation said in mid-January it was opposed to the idea "for the time being".
Ms Bachelot’s comments come after the mayor of Perpignan, Pyrénées-Orientales, announced yesterday that four museums in the city would reopen on the grounds that “culture is essential to life”.
All museums in France are currently closed due to the Covid-19 health crisis, but Mayor Louis Aliot said the museums in Perpignan would reopen on Tuesday February 16, with or without permission from central government.
Ms Bachelot said she disapproved of his decision and that it was against “the rules of the Republic”.
The prefect of Pyrénées-Orientales has now called upon the administrative court of Montpellier to overturn the mayor’s decision to reopen the museums. A hearing is expected to take place this week.
No date for national reopening of culture spaces
Ms Bachelot said that it is still too early to set a precise date on when museums and other culture spaces in France can reopen. She said that there would have to be a “continuous decrease” in the number of Covid-19 cases first.
As for summer festivals, she said, there is a difference between seated and standing festivals, with the standing ones posing more of a problem.
“I'm working with festival organisers, whether it's Hellfest, Vieilles Charrues Festival or Eurockéennes de Belfort, to see how we can ensure the safety of spectators and people on and around the stage,” Ms Bachelot said
“It's a very big task, with tests at the entrance: how to implement them, how to finance them.
"I am also working on a fund to support these festivals, so that, whatever happens, festivals will be protected.”