How will France’s health pass work in cafes, bars and restaurants?

Who does it apply to? Is it only places with over 50 people? What about terraces? How does it work for tourists? We answer your questions on using the health pass when new rules come into effect in August.

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Everyone in France aged 18 and over will, from August 9, be required to show a health pass in order to go to restaurants, cafés and bars.

This is subject to approval by France’s Conseil constitutionnel, with a decision expected on August 5. The council is unlikely to change or block the law after it was debated at length in France’s Parliament.

We answer other common questions related to the health pass (pass sanitaire).

Who will check it and how?

Staff working at the cafes, restaurants and bars should check your health pass.

In restaurants, this will likely be done before the waiter shows you to your seat.

In cafes and bars this will be more complicated, but waiters will most likely ask you to show the pass before they take your order.

The staff will not ask you for your ID. This will be the job of the police.

If managers suspect anything untoward, they can phone the police to ask them to check a person’s health pass.

Identity checks by police will not take place within establishments, but outside.

Read more: France’s health pass does not have a photo so must we show ID too?

What will happen if I refuse to show the pass sanitaire?

The establishment can refuse to serve you.

There is a fine of €135 for anyone caught using a fake certificate.

What about under 18s?

Children aged 12 to 17 will not need to use a health pass until September 30. After that day, children in this age bracket will need to show them to enter cafes, restaurants, bars and all other places a health pass is required in France.

The health pass will not be required to access schools.

Read more: Vaccinated pupils in France to stay in school if class has Covid case

Does this health pass rule only apply to cafes and restaurants with a capacity of over 50 people?

No, it applies to all cafes, restaurants and bars.

The capacity of 50 rule applies to culture and leisure spaces, such as cinemas, theatres, indoor sports facilities, public swimming pools, places of worship.

A health pass has been required at those places since July 21. Click the link below to find out more.

Read more: What changes with France’s Covid health pass on July 21

Will I need to show the health pass to sit in outside areas and on terraces?

Yes, all areas of cafes, restaurants and bars are included in the law.

What is the pass sanitaire?

The ‘health pass’ in itself is not a separate physical document.

It is the way France refers to proof of your Covid-19 status and this can be achieved with any of the following:

  • 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

A person is considered fully vaccinated one week after their final vaccine dose.

The vaccines that are accepted as part of the health pass are: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

How can I present it?

You can present proof of any of these documents on paper - you will be given a certificate when you get a test or a vaccination.

Alternatively you can show the documents digitally, for example if a lab has sent you your Covid-19 test results.

Finally, you can use the phone application TousAntiCovid. You can upload vaccination and test certificates there if they have a compatible QR code on them.

Read more in our article here about getting a health pass in France. - France's Covid ‘pass sanitaire' is not a document, so how do I get it?

What about tourists?

Visitors vaccinated or tested in any other EU country can use their vaccination or test certificates in France, as part of the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate scheme.

Read more: France’s health pass vs the EU’s health pass: What is the difference?

It is now possible for UK visitors to France to scan QR codes from their NHS vaccination certificates into France’s TousAntiCovid app.

Read more: NHS QR codes now compatible with France’s TousAntiCovid app

The change means that visitors from the UK can now easily generate in the app a French, and EU, standard digital certificate for easy scanning at venues requiring a pass.

The American Embassy in Paris did state previously that “any willing doctor or pharmacist” could take information from US vaccination certificates so as to generate a French certificate with an EU QR code.

It now states that while some people report having done this successfully, others were told it is not possible and "at this time, the Embassy is not aware of the extent to which it is still possible to have the US information entered into the French system".

France is preparing to launch a new system enabling visitors from non-EU countries to obtain a French-format health pass certificate in early August. Read more about that in our article here - France plans system to convert US and other non-EU Covid certificates.

Otherwise, paper proof of vaccination with a vaccine accepted in France should in theory be accepted at most venues, even if there is no compatible QR code to be scanned.

If a person’s vaccination proof is not accepted, then tourists can take a Covid-19 test in France.

This can be a rapid antigen test, which costs €25 for tourists in France or a PCR test, costing €43.89

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