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COVID-19 HEALTH PASS

EXPLAINED: When and where you need a health passport in France

The health passport is now in use in France for a variety of everyday venues including cafés, cinemas, tourist sites and long-distance travel - with both visitors and employees required to present the pass. Here's how the rules work.

EXPLAINED: When and where you need a health passport in France
Photo: Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP.

The health passport requires one of three things – proof of vaccination, a recent (within 72 hours) negative Covid test or proof of recent recovery from Covid.

For most people, using the TousAntiCovid app will be the most practical option but there is also an option to show proof on paper for people who don’t own a smartphone or don’t want to use the app.

For tourists or those who had their vaccines done outside France – click HERE to find out how to convert your certificates for use in France.

Where?

Since August 9th, the health passport has been required for;

Bars, restaurants and cafés

You will need to show a health pass to access bars, restaurants and cafés, whether you want to sit inside or outside, because the measure will also apply to terraces.

This includes hotels, camp sites and holiday clubs which have a bar or restaurant. But canteens in workplaces, schools, universities and hospitals are exempt, as are takeaways.

Weddings will not require a health pass, unless taking place in a venue covered by the rules such as a restaurant or tourist site (even if it is closed to the general public).

Long-distance travel

The pass is required for long-distance coach, train and plane journeys.

For trains, this includes TGV (Inoui et Ouigo), Intercité, night trains, and international trains travelling through France. It does not apply to regional TER services or the Transilien lines which serve the Paris suburbs such as RER trains. Nor does it apply to local transportation systems like Metro or tram lines. Full details on how checks will work on trains are availble HERE.

Only inter-regional and international buses, run by operators such as Flixbus and Blablacar Bus, will ask for the health pass. Blablacar has said it will verify passes “systematically” when boarding.

It was already necessary to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for international plane journeys, but from August 9th, the health pass is required for domestic flights as well.

Checks can be carried out when boarding or on board, and SNCF staff are entitled to ask for ID, to ensure that the name on the health pass matches that of the ID. Staff at venues such as cinemas and cafés are not entitled to ask for ID when checking health passes. 

Hospitals, medical centres and retirement homes

This has been one of the most controversial aspects of the government’s plans: from August 9th, visitors as well as people seeking non-urgent medical care require a health pass to enter hospitals.

This applies to people with scheduled appointments to visit a doctor, but not to emergency treatment. The Constitutional Council ruled that this measure “does not limit access to care”.

Health minister Olivier Véran has clarified that this does not apply to visits to a GP or family doctor.

To visit somebody in a retirement home you will also have to present proof of vaccination, a negative test or proof of recovery from Covid.

Shopping centres

The government originally hoped to extend the health pass to all shopping centres of more than 20,000 square metres, but after a compromise, this now depends on the health situation at a local level. Local préfectures will decide which large shopping centres will be required to implement the health passport if Covid cases are particularly high in their area.

The pass is not required to enter individual shops or malls of less than 20,000 square metres.

Culture and leisure venues

The health pass has already been in use in culture and leisure venues hosting more than 50 people since July 21st. This includes:

  • Concert venues
  • Cinemas and theatres
  • Festivals
  • Indoor and outdoor sports venues including gyms, swimming pools and stadiums
  • Games rooms and casinos
  • Places of worship that are holding cultural events such as concerts (but the pass is not required for religious worship)
  • Amusement parks and zoos
  • Museums, galleries and tourist attractions
  • Nightclubs, discotheques and dance venues

From August 9th it is required in all of these places, even if they are hosting fewer than 50 people.

Who?

The health passport is required for everyone over the age of 12.

However, because many young people are not yet fully vaccinated, children between the ages of 12 and 17 will not be required to show the passport until September 30th.

Government sources have told Le Parisien newspaper that from that date the health pass obligation will only apply to people aged at least 12 years and 2 months, in order to give children time to get vaccinated following their twelfth birthday. In France, you must wait at least three weeks between doses, and you are considered fully vaccinated one week after your final dose.

Masks

Masks are no longer compulsory in venues covered by the health pass, with two exceptions; trains, planes and buses where it is still required and in areas where the incidence rate is higher than 200 cases per 10,000 people.

However, local authorities can impose their own mask rules and in many areas these are stricter than the government’s requirements.

What are the penalties for not using the health passport?

Unlike other French Covid-related rules such as the mask rules, the health passport does not come with fines for non-compliance for members of the public.

Employees of health passport venues need to check your pass on arrival, and without it you can be refused entry.

If businesses are found not to be checking, it is the business that faces sanctions. Originally this was envisaged as a fine and maximum of one-year imprisonment, however this was amended on the law’s passage through parliament so businesses now face civil sanctions including the closure of the business.

However, members of the public will be fined €135 if they are found to be using a fraudulent health pass (using a fake certificate or another person’s pass). This rises to six months in prison and a €3,750 fine if repeated more than three times in the space of a month.

What about employees of health passport venues?

The rules on health passports apply to everyone who is in the listed venues – staff or visitors.

This leaves staff with the option of either getting tested every 72 hours – and ‘convenience tests’ for the unvaccinated are set to be charged at €29 for an antigen test or €49 for a PCR test – or getting vaccinated.

Employees were given a grace period until August 30th, to give them enough time to get fully vaccinated.

After some debate in parliament it was agreed that staff cannot be dismissed for refusing to be vaccinated, but cannot come into work. They will first be asked to use their annual holiday leave and then to take unpaid leave, while remaining an employee of the company.

The bill approved by parliament allowed for the early termination of fixed-term contracts, but this measure was shot down by the Constitutional Council.

And health workers?

The rules for healthcare workers are slightly different as the health passport bill also approves making vaccination compulsory for those working in the health or care sector.

Anyone working in health or care roles, or anyone volunteering to work in the care sector, is required to be vaccinated before September 15th.

Those who refuse cannot work and will not be paid.

The health pass rules cannot be extended beyond November 15th without being once again approved by a parliamentary vote.

Member comments

  1. I’m in Paris and I just took my USA vaccine documents (i received my vaccination in the USA) to the local pharmacy near where I am staying and within 10 minutes they downloaded the French Health Pass certificate with the bar code that I scanned into the French Health Pass App (Tous AntiCovid) on my iPhone. Voilà and I am ready to go. Just wish things were so simple in the UK.

  2. I run a bed and breakfast with holiday apartment rentals and rang the pass sanitaire helpline to see how my business is affected. I was told for holiday rentals I was not required to check guests’ health passport and also not necessary to allow guests to acces their rooms. However breakfast is served in a communal area so it will be necessary for me to check before allowing guests access. Alternatively I can serve breakfast as room service or in a non-communal area to the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated without a negative test. This, I understand is the protocol for hotels too

  3. Thanks, Gary:

    Can you tell us which pharmacy you went to? And is there an option to have a paper passe if you don’t have a smartphone?

  4. As I understand it, I cannot go to a museum or anywhere else on the list without an antigen test that costs €29.00. I do not have a carte vitale or SS number in France though I have a titre de sejour britannique until 2026. So I am going to be paying a fortune just to subsist here. In shock.

      1. Thanks for condescending question
        As compliant 70 y o I was vaccinated ASAP in late April-May 2021

        I misunderstood the new rules

        In many cases vaccinated or not you are required to have an antigen test hence my mild protest o repeatedly paying for such

  5. What a dictator/tyrant Macron is. He thinks by bullying/stripping people of their human rights is acceptable. I’ll not take the vaccine no matter what else this tyrant decides to do next …. A message for Macron …What happened to MY BODY MY CHOICE?
    When it comes to a vaccine, why is it MY body, YOUR choice?

    1. The situation is more complex than MY BODY MY CHOICE. If your body ends up in hospital because you choose not to get vaccinated and were unlucky to be a ‘bad case’ than this can cause other people to die (by not getting treatment, or too late), it is that simple.
      Where is my right? I got vaccinated, yet if I refuse to wear a mask it cost me 135 euro, my body, my choice not to wear a mask. I have to wear a mask because your right counts more than my right! You do not get fined 135 euro if you are going anywhere unvaccinated!
      In the worst case you get sent away, I vaccinated without mask get sent away plus I get fined 135 euro! How fair is that?

      1. Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
        Benjamin Franklin

        My body my choice means that I alone have the right to choose what is put into my body, not the government’s. As soon as you cede those rights over to the state, you opened the door to tyranny. And if I get sick to the point of needing hospitalization (which is slim) am I not only infected the unvaccinated? How can I cause the vaccinated to die? They are protected, yes? So all those who are unvaccinated are happy to take the risk ONLY TO THEMSELVES. So don’t use guilt and emotional blackmail to coerce others. That’s a fascist tactic and not an honest one.

        This vaccine has been rushed through ‘clinical trials’ (I use that term lightly), but has been approved for emergency use. We do not know the long-term effects. They also differ from the conventional way vaccines have been historically produced, using mRNA technology to reprogramme on a cellular level.

        Science has now been politicized and monetized. Real science has taken a backseat. Those within the wider scientific community who have serious doubts about both the efficacy and safety of the vaccine have been censored by the government, big tech, big pharma, and mainstream media. When I can no longer access reliable and serious experts in virology and epidemiology because they don’t support the current narrative, that raises big red flags to me.

        I don’t need to remind you of the countless number of disabilities and deaths some of these vaccines have been claimed to have caused.

        If vaccines work, then you have no argument. Only the unvaccinated will suffer. Because vaccines protect, right?

        1. The problem is not or you’ll be able to infect vaccinated people, that’s fine, The problem are the unvaccinated who end up in hospital, than hospitals get overfull and treatments are cancelled or delayed what causes deaths as well. This are than patients who not even have covid but there is no place in the hospital because all beds are taken up by covid patients who were unvaccinated.
          I think by now the vaccines have proven to work, Pfizer will get approved in a few weeks.

        2. Over 4 billion jabs have been administrated world-wide, most in countries with good health care systems with a proven record of detecting problems. That means we have a very good idea of what side-effects they have: A massive number of injections and of so many people any problems would have been seen. In addition, so-called “long term” problems usually show up within the first three months after injection (based on experience with other vaccines).

          And what has been seen? Essentially nothing; the idiom “one in a million” applies. One in a million.

          What we don’t know is how long the immunity lasts.

          mRNA does not “reprogramme” anything. (And not all the vaccines are mRNA.) Much else of what is said is on the same level of accuracy: Completely lacking. Both in correctness and in evidence.

          And I certainly am interested in the “countless number of disabilities and deaths some of these vaccines have been claimed to have caused”, or more specifically, the EVIDENCE for both that claim, and the “claims” that claim asserts exists.

          Vaccines do protect. For Covid-19, they only protect those who have been vaccinated. Some people cannot be vaccinated (e.g., allergic to an ingredient (rare)), or they don’t work very well (e.g., immunocompromised (such as recent transplant patients)). In addition, vaccines are not perfect, some vaccinated people will get the disease, albeit usually a very mild case, rarely requiring hospitalisation, and almost never a stay in the ICU or on a ventilator. As a reminder, around 99% of all ICU cases (in both the US and France) are unvaccinated people. Vaccines work. And are safe.

          If you do get sick (especially with the highly-contagious Delta variant), then there is a significant risk of infecting others (mostly the unvaccinated). You may not die, or even be seriously ill, or even realise you are ill (i.e., an asymptotic infection), but those others just might die or become seriously ill. Because you couldn’t be bothered to protect yourself (“just in case”) and don’t seem to care about other people. That is an honest summary (hint: one characteristic of facist summaries is they are not honest).

          Your false-“freedom” has a serious potential of making others sick. Stop misunderstanding or ignoring the responsibilities with come with freedom.

        3. No one is forcing you to get vaccinated it’s your choice. If you prefer to stay at home you are perfectly free to do so – we all did that during lockdown and now some of us would like the choice to get out and about again. If you don’t want to risk it, that’s up to you. That’s freedom of choice.

          1. Perhaps you believe you cannot get Covid-19 because you are “vaccinated”, but that is not true you can get Covid and you can be a carrier of the disease whether you are aware of that or not. Just because the resto has only “vaccinated” does not believe you cannot get Covid in the resto. You are only allowing the government to control you.

          2. i couldnt come to france to see my ten year old daughter if i didnt get vaccinated. you are being held to ransom if you look at in black and white and forced to get vaccinated.

    2. When you’re lying in hospital with a ventilator down your throat you can say “Take that, Macron! You can’t make ME take that vaccine!”

  6. For those near Saint Brieuc, Brittany, the Centre de Vaccination COVID-19 at the Palais des Congrès, Saint Brieuc-Brezillet, is able to generate a pass sanitaire from a U.S. CDC vaccination card. We followed the stream of people entering the center for their vaccination and after explaining to the gatekeeper what we needed, she led us to the computer personnel who entered our names, dates of birth, type and dates of vaccine, and local address to produce the pass sanitaire with a QR code.

  7. To everyone whining they won’t be able to do this or that… hello? Where have you been the past 1.5 year almost when no one could do anything really. If the option is to have everything closed like it was for so long or open up for those willing to use a the health passport. Heck yes I say!

    1. Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
      Benjamin Franklin.

    2. If the vaccines are effective ,the unvaccinated are only risking their own health. If they’re not effective, why the coercion ?

      1. Exactly! Couldn’t agree more. But be careful. You’re using logic and critical thought. That’s dangerous in today’s world.

  8. Dear TheLocal, can you please fix the ‘Report comment’ button?
    Because it doesn’t work on iPhones or Macs, and thus clear spam like random nutter’s comments here can’t be reported.

  9. We wear seat belts by law in France to drive vehicles – the stats prove the point that on balance it’s a good idea. Maybe on balance to help us all get back to some semblance of normality, having health passes, vaccinations etc it’s the best option out there. Has anyone a better option based on verifiable empirical evidence not opinion? Good luck …. Robert

  10. The French government sent me an email saying that they will not be able to fill all the requests for conversions of US vaccine documents to the French one with a QR code. They suggested getting tested in a pharmacy every three days! Ridiculous! I submitted my request three weeks ago. It is time for them to address the issue.

    1. Exactly ! I just returned from a local hospital here in France. The government is no longer allowing them convert our US vaccination records to a QR code. I am so frustrated as I have received the same reply. Too busy, go to a pharmacy every 3 days…it’s unbelievable…

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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