France could end vaccine pass requirement ‘by March’

People in France may no longer need to hold a Covid-19 vaccine pass from the end of March, government spokesman Gabriel Attal has suggested - a week before up to five million passes are set to be deactivated.

France could end vaccine pass requirement 'by March'
France's Covid-19 vaccine pass could be phased out as soon as the end of March, government spokesman Gabriel Attal has suggested Photo: Joel Saget / AFP

The pass – required for entry to a wide range of venues including bars, restaurants, ski lifts, tourist sites and long-distance trains – could be scrapped as soon as March, said Attal.

But the news will come as scant comfort to between four and five million people in France who have not had a booster and will therefore have their pass deactivated from next week.

As Covid-19 cases fall in France, Attal indicated that the end of the vaccine pass requirement may be nigh.

“The number of cases is down 35 percent, the reproduction rate of the virus is now 0.77 – this shows that the epidemic is regressing,” he said after the weekly Council of Ministers at the Elysée Palace.

“But let’s be careful not to boast,” he cautioned. “Hospitals remain under tension.”

Health minister Oliver Véran had previously suggested that the pass could be scrapped by July.

Attal confirmed that nightclubs can reopen, as already scheduled, from Wednesday, February 16th, and said: “There are reasons to hope that by this time horizon the situation will have improved sufficiently for us to be able to lift its final measures.” 

The “time horizon” to which he referred is understood to mean the period around the end of March and beginning of April. 

Professor Alain Fischer, président of the conseil d’orientation de la stratégie vaccinale, which advises the government, had earlier suggested a similar timeline.

Questioned in the Senate on Wednesday, Fischer clarified the conditions which must be met for the the government to officially signal the end of the vaccine pass requirement. “We need a reduced incidence rate. That means at least 10 or 20 times lower than today, and – above all – that the current hospital overload has disappeared.”

He went on: “If people get vaccinated and follow the rules, by the end of March to April, I hope we will reach this situation.”  

Health Minister Olivier Véran had also alluded to the possibility of bringing forward the end date for passes. On February 2nd, he told BFMTV:  “The end  [of the vaccine pass], we know it, it’s July. But if we can remove the pass before, we will.”

But the reduced deadline for getting a booster dose, which was cut from seven to four months, means that up to five million people could see their older health passes deactivated from Tuesday, February 15th, and there are not enough available vaccination slots for everyone to get a third jab in time.

From that date  anyone over 18 will have to receive a booster if their second dose was more than four months ago.

This applies to both residents of France and tourists.

Find full details on the booster shot requirement HERE.

Member comments

  1. Inevitable. First because of the election and second because Macron would never let Britain steal a march on ending all restrictions.

  2. It is good that European countries are putting behind them the Covid rules and regulations, give us a bit of freedom.

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For members


Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).