The Prime Minister announced that the health pass will become a vaccine pass – denying entry for the unvaccinated to a variety of venues including bars, cafés and leisure centres – on Monday, January 24th.
Read full details HERE on the changes to the vaccine pass.
Also on January 24th, the vaccine booster programme will be opened up to children aged 12-17, although it will not be compulsory for this group to have a booster in order to be considered “fully vaccinated” for the purpose of the vaccine pass.
While cautioning that the health situation in the country remains tense, Castex said that a few more weeks of allowing hospital pressure to reduce, coupled with the effect of the vaccine pass, will allow the government to lift some restrictions.
You can find the detailed calendar of the changes HERE.
The two-step process is as follows:
From February 2nd:
- Face masks will no longer be required outdoors
- Limits on gatherings – currently set at 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors will end
- Working from home for three days a week will no longer be compulsory, although it remains recommended for those who can
From February 16th:
- Customers in venues including cinemas and sports grounds as well as passengers on trains will again to allowed to consume food and drinks
- Bars will be permitted to offer standing service, as well as table service
- Nightclubs which have been closed since early December can reopen
Others restrictions will remain in place, including the requirement for masks in indoor public areas.
The PM added that he hoped some rules could also be relaxed in schools on their return after the February holidays including mask rules, but added that this was still the subject of consultation.
French MPs last week passed the bill that allows the health pass to be converted into a vaccine pass – meaning that proof of vaccination will be required to enter a range of venues including sports grounds, gyms, leisure centres, bars, cafés, restaurants, tourist sites, cinemas, theatres and long-distance public transport.
An exact date for its start had not previously been confirmed.
Castex added that the vaccine pass will require either proof of complete vaccination (including booster shots for those eligible), proof of recent recovery from Covid or a certificate stating that a person cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons – these are issued by the state health system.
There are some exemptions to this requirement, where a negative Covid test will be accepted instead, including children aged 12 to 16 and people needing entry to medical establishments as visitors or for non-urgent medical treatment.
Case numbers in France remain extremely high, with more than 400,000 new cases announced on each of the last three days.
However the case numbers don’t seem to be translating into exceptionally high numbers of patients in hospitals and intensive care units, although these numbers are rising and hospitals are under pressure.