The pass sanitaire (health passport) is currently in use in France and requires visitors to a range of venues including bars, cafés, cinemas, tourist sites and long-distance train travel to show proof of either vaccination, recent recovery from Covid or a recent negative Covid test.
The pass was introduced in June and from August 9th expanded to include everyday venues such as cafés, gyms, theatres and museums.
The system is currently in place until November 15th and if the government wants to extend it, that will require a full debate in parliament.
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And on Monday, Prime Minister Jean Castex’s team announced that he was preparing just that – according to French newspaper Le Parisien the extension bill will be presented to the Council of Ministers on October 13th.
If they approve, it would then move on to a debate of the full parliament.
The extension bill comes after several ministers as well as President Emmanuel Macron had suggested that the use of the health pass could be relaxed in several areas as infection rates in France continue to fall.
The extension of the health pass and the accompanying state of health emergency would allow the government to reintroduce measures without a parliamentary debate should the situation take a turn for the worse.
The health passport and legislation to make vaccination compulsory for health and emergency workers has been credited as being a major factor in turning around France’s vaccination programme and helping the country to achieve a vaccination rate of over 90 percent for adults.
It has not been uncontroversial, however, with weekly demonstrations attracting tens of thousands of people onto the street, despite a fall in turnout in recent weeks.