Health passport wristbands trialled in south west France

Health passport wristbands trialled in south west France
Laurent Tournier, president of the UMIH 33, demonstrates the wristband at a restaurant in Bordeaux. Photo: MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP.
A local authority in south-western France began testing wristbands on Thursday, which allow vaccinated people to enter health pass venues without showing a QR code.

From Thursday, an initial 20,000 wristbands will be made available for venues requiring a pass sanitaire (health pass) in the most touristic parts of the Gironde département, including Bordeaux, Arcachon Bay and Saint-Emilion, according to the hotel industry group Union des métiers et des industrie de l’Hôtellerie (UMIH).

Regular clients will be able to present proof of full vaccination once, and will then be given a bracelet which acts as a health pass and allows them to access the venue again in the future.

Clients who rely on recent negative Covid tests or proof of recovery from Covid to access the health passport will not be able to use the bracelets, and must continue to use a paper certificate or the TousAntiCovid app.

Laurent Tournier, president of the Gironde branch of the UMIH, told AFP that the goal was to make it easier for clients to access health pass venues. Tournier said “the health pass has noticeably, even very noticeably, reduced the trade” of restaurateurs since its introduction on August 9th.

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“We have clients who return to our venues several times per week, or even per day, and having to ask the same client for their health pass ten times is starting to become annoying for everyone,” Tournier told 20 Minutes on Monday.

He added that 250 businesses had already expressed an interest in the wristbands, but “we hope at least 500 venues will participate”.

“The police will continue to check the pass and not the bracelet,” Martin Guespereau, Deputy Prefect for defence and security told AFP. The UMIH is working with the local préfecture to trial the system.

The wristbands read “pass sanitaire UIMH 33”, and will also include the first three letters of the name of the venue and the town.

Laurent Lutse, president of the cafés, brasseries and nightclubs branch of the UMIH told AFP he had requested guidance from the Interior Ministry, “since we have doubts at a legal level”.

He said “there will need to be a QR code on the bracelet and not a number, otherwise there will be fraud.”

This is not the first time bracelets have been used to facilitate checks. Since August 9th, the SNCF has been checking passengers’ health passes and giving them a blue wristband to show that they do not need to be checked again on the train or when they arrive at their destination.

The difference is that the SNCF’s bracelets are disposable and cannot be reused at a later date.

Member comments

  1. What about the environment? More plastic rubbish. I thought also that this ‘health pass’ was only a temporary measure, why bother? Instead of all those silly rules, just stop all the restrictions, leave it for everyone to choose for themselves. One little negative, your carte vitale will be blocked as long as the person is not vaccinated. No drama, just one rule, simple and fair, freedom for all.

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