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French health pass: Cafes, restaurants risk €45,000 fine if no check

Restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, shopping centres and more could be liable for fines and one year in prison under proposed laws 

People on a restaurant terrace. French health pass: Cafes, restaurants risk €45,000 fine if no check

The rules will also apply in some outdoor public spaces such as restaurant and café terraces Pic: Hadrian / Shutterstock

Venues that do not check visitors have a valid health pass could become liable for fines of up to €45,000 and one year in prison for owners or managers, under proposed laws to be put to parliament on July 21. 

The new laws come as part of plans to extend use of the French health pass to a wide range of public spaces, including restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, gyms, sports centres and shopping centres.

The pass proves that the bearer has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, has a negative test result taken within 48 hours or has previously had the virus and is considered immune.

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

Pending approval by parliament, use of the pass will be mandatory in cultural spaces where over 50 people can gather from July 21. 

From the beginning of August, it will become mandatory in spaces including restaurants, shopping centres, hospitals and for long-distance travel within France.

Responsibility will be on establishments, service providers and event managers to check members of the public have a valid health pass before entering.

As well as potential fines and prison sentences, the police will have the right to ask venues and events to close if they do not respect the rules. 

Restaurant owners have greeted the news with mixed emotions.

In Paris, owner of Le Mesturet, Alain Fontaine, told FranceInfo: “It’s going to be complicated, we don’t know how to check the health passes.

“It’s going to lead to fights at the door in places like cinemas, café terraces and restaurants. It’s complicated to accept, but we do have to accept it.”

Daniel Dequatre, owner of Le Monsigny, said: “For two years things have been miserable. Before we can get back to 2019 turnover levels we will have to wait until 2022 or 2023, and now we have the health pass.

“I’m not the police. [I want my customers] to come here when they want to, and I won’t ask anything of them.”

Visitors who are found in venues without a valid health pass are expected to face fines of €135.

What is the health pass?

France’s health pass (pass sanitaire) is not a document in itself and refers to:

  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a negative result and taken within the past 48 hours
  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate showing full vaccination
  • A Covid-19 test (rapid antigen or PCR) showing a positive Covid-19 result, taken between 11 days and six months prior

These documents can be shown in paper format, digitally, or through the phone application TousAntiCovid. 

Related stories

17,000 protest against new rules of French health pass

12 questions on how to use the French health pass from July 21

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