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Will I need a health pass to go to the supermarket in France?

The government plans to require people to present proof of their Covid-19 status in order to access certain public spaces including shopping centres from August

A supermarket in France

Supermarkets are unlikely to be affected by a new ruling requiring health passes to be used to enter certain public places Pic: Pack-Shot / Shutterstock

Reader question: Will we need to start using France’s health pass to go to our local supermarket?

This is unlikely but is yet to be officially confirmed and could depend on the size of the store. 

The use of the health pass will be required for large shopping centres, but not individual supermarkets, France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran stated on Tuesday (July 13). 

He said the exact details would be defined in a bill set to be discussed in parliament from July 21. 

French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a string of measures aimed at combating the spread of the Delta variant in France on Monday (July 12).

Among these measures are plans to extend the use of France’s health pass.

The government wants the pass to be mandatory to access cultural spaces gathering over 50 people from July 21, and then for it to be mandatory from August to access restaurants, cafes, hospitals, long-distance transport and shopping centres.

These rules are subject to approval from parliament and courts. 

“When we say big shopping centres we think of shopping centres or galleries in Paris,” Mr Véran said.

“In fact, this is not accurate, most of the big shopping centres are on the outskirts of cities...and they are crowded at weekends. 

“And so, the question that would potentially arise if the epidemic flared up is, 'do we have to close these shopping centres for everyone? Or can we leave them open with the health pass?’”

French news outlet BFMTV reports that the health pass will be required for shopping centres of more than 20,000 square metres.

In January this year, shopping centres larger than 20,000 square metres had to be closed in the most at-risk departments in France. In March, this was lowered to include establishments measuring more than 10,000 square metres.

How big is 20,000sqm?

  • It is about three to four times as big as the White House in Washington D.C.
  • It is about 2.5 times bigger than Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland
  • It is about 1.7 times bigger than Trafalgar Square in London
  • It is about three-tenths as big as Croke Park, the huge Gaelic games stadium in Dublin
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:

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

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

How will foreign visitors to France use health pass to go to a cafe?

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