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SKIING

France ‘considering’ making health pass compulsory for ski lifts

France's tourism minister says he is considering whether to make the health pass compulsory for using ski lifts - which would largely rule out French skiing holidays for the unvaccinated.

Ski lifts in France could require a health pass
Ski lifts in France could require a health pass. Photo: Olivier Chassignole/AFP

Tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne is still working with industry representatives to make the definite plan for the 2021/22 ski season, but says that making health passports compulsory for ski lifts is “under consideration”.

A full announcement is expected within the next few days.

The health passport is already compulsory for many leisure activities in France including trips to bars and restaurants. It is also compulsory for long-distance train travel or for those taking a plane to French ski resorts, but for the moment it is not required to use ski lifts.

READ ALSO Will France have a normal ski season this year?

Currently the resorts already open, such as Tignes in the Alps, are applying the general French rules on the health passport.

Lemoyne told SudRadio: “That is to say that if you go to a restaurant in a resort, you will be asked for your health pass, if you go to a nightclub you will be asked for the health pass.

“For the ski lifts, at this stage it’s without the health pass,” he said, but added “it shouldn’t be excluded because the pass is what allows you to stay open whatever happens.”

If the health pass is required, then only those who take part in the demanding sport of cross-country skiing – which does not require a ski lift – would be able to ski in French resorts this winter.

The French health pass is for all over 12s and requires proof of either fully vaccinated status, recent recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test taken within the last 72 hours. Covid tests for tourists and unvaccinated residents are no longer free.

READ ALSO When and where you need a health pass in France

Lemoyne said that the British market is “very important for French skiing” but added “we can see that in Great Britain the incidence rate and the number of cases are very high, between 40,000 and 50,000 cases per day and in France we see a slight increase in the incidence rate.”

Authorities in Switzerland announced earlier this week that a health pass will not be required to take part in mountain sports, although it will be needed for the après ski bars and restaurants, while in Austria the health pass is required for both ski lifts and socialising.

Jean-Luc Boch, president of the association of French mountain resort mayors, told France Bleu: “If it’s going to be with a pass for ski lifts, then so be it. But we have to decide.

“We need to be sure in order to secure the customers and to be able to put in place a means of rapid checks.”

In addition to the health pass, the standard French health rules around masks and distancing will also be in place in ski resorts.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

After two years of limited travel many people are planning a holiday this year and France is a popular destination - but it's easy to lose track of the latest travel rules. Here's what you need to know if you are coming to France from a country that is within the EU or Schengen zone.

Everything you need to know about travel to France from within the EU

Restrictions

France operates a ‘traffic light’ system that has been in place since summer 2020, assigning countries a colour based on their Covid infection rates.

These days most of the world is green – the lightest level of restriction – including all the countries in the EU and Schengen zone. Find full details on the government website here.

Map: French interior ministry

Vaccinated – if you are fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) and travelling from a green zone country all you need to show at the border is proof of vaccination. There is no requirement for extra paperwork such as passenger locator forms or health declarations and no Covid tests needed. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Unvaccinated – if you are not fully vaccinated according to the French definition (see below) you will need to show a negative Covid test at the border. The test can be either a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or an antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours. Once in France you are not required to quarantine.

Fully vaccinated – in order to qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’ you must be vaccinated with an EMA approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca or Janssen) and must be at least 7 days after your final dose (or 28 days after in the case of Janssen). If you had your vaccine more than nine months ago, you will need a booster shot in order to still be classificed as ‘fully vaccinated’ if you are aged 18 and over.

Anyone vaccinated within the EU/Schengen zone will have the EU digital vaccine pass, but vaccination certificates issued outside the EU are also accepted at the French border. 

Children – The rules on vaccination apply to all children aged 12 and over. Under 12s do not need to supply proof of vaccination at the border. Children aged between 12 and 18 do not need a booster shot, even if their vaccine took place more than nine months ago.

The above rules apply to all EU and Schengen zone countries – if you are travelling from the UK click HERE, click HERE for travel from the USA and HERE for travel from other non-EU countries.

In France

So you’ve made it into France, but what are the rules once you are here?

On May 16th, France ended the mask requirement for public transport, representing one of the last Covid restrictions still in place.

Masks – masks are now only compulsory in health establishments, although they remain recommended on public transport. They are not required in other indoor spaces such as shops, bars, restaurants and tourist sites, although private businesses retain the legal right to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

Health pass – the health pass was suspended in March and is no longer required to enter venues such as bars, restaurants and tourist sites. It is still required to enter establishements with vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. In this case it is a health pass not a vaccine pass – so unvaccinated people can present a recent negative Covid test.

Hygiene gestures – the government still recommends the practice of hygiene gestures such as hand-washing/gel and social distancing although this is a recommendation and not a rule.

Self-isolation – if you test positive for Covid while in France you are legally required to self isolate – full details HERE.

READ ALSO How tourists and visitors to France can get a Covid test

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