France expands its health passport scheme to include staff in cultural and leisure venues

France expands its health passport scheme to include staff in cultural and leisure venues
Photo: Sameer Al Doumy/AFP
France's health passport is from Monday expanded to include staff in venues such as cafés, bars and tourist sites, as well as the visitors for whom it has been compulsory since early August.

The health passport – which requires proof of either vaccination, recent recovery from Covid or a recent negative Covid test – has been compulsory for visitors to a wide range of venues since August 9th.

From that date, anyone wanting to visit a bar, café, restaurant, cinema, theatre, music venue, gym, leisure centre, museum, tourist site, hospital, large gathering or travel on a long-distance train needs to show the pass to be allowed entry.

You can find the full list of venues and how the pass works HERE.

However when it was introduced at the start of the month, employees at health pass venues were given a grace period until August 30th, to allow them time to get vaccinated.

That exemption is now at an end, so employees will either need to be vaccinated or be willing to take a Covid test every 72 hours – tests at present are free, but from mid October ‘convenience tests’ will be charged at a maximum rate of €29 for an antigen test or €49 for a PCR test. The health passport accepts both PCR and antigen test results.

READ ALSO A step-by-step guide to getting the French health passport

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The exemption for under 18s remains in place until September 30th – from that date all over 12s will be required to show the health passport at relevant venues.

The situation for health workers is slightly different – vaccination will become compulsory for them, with no option for regular testing instead, from September 15th.

Health passport venue workers who are unable or unwilling to show the pass will not be permitted to work – but cannot be sacked purely for being unvaccinated.

Employers are advised to first allow people to use up unspent holiday time before moving people onto unpaid leave if their job cannot be done remotely.

The Constitutional Court, France’s highest constitutional authority, has approved the extension of the health passport to cover employees, but reiterated that employees cannot be sacked unless there is other misconduct, and that people on fixed term contracts cannot have their contracts terminated early.

READ ALSO Can my French boss force me to get a Covid vaccine?

The hardline CGT union has said it is against the compulsory use of the health passport for employees, although union boss Philippe Martinez was careful to distance himself from weekly demonstrations where “anti-vaxxers make anti-Semitic statements and promote conspiracy theories”.

He told French newspaper Le Parisien that the union was planning demonstrations from the beginning of October against a number of issues, including the “incoherence” of the implementation of the health passport.

Among France’s adult population, 85.3 percent of people have had at least one dose and 77.5 percent are fully vaccinated. 

However with 48.3 million first doses and 43.5 million fully vaccinated by Sunday, it looks like France will just miss its target to have 50 million people first vaccinated by the end of August.


Member comments

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  1. Hello,

    Hopefully a quick question RE the Passport for folks like us from the US. We have family in France and visited over the summer…finally. We hope to return in October in spite of the news today regarding the US being put on a EU danger list. I have all of the necessary documents to apply for a Passport…should we submit these now for anticipated…hoped for…travel departing on October 12th?

    Thanks, Gary

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