The UK relaxes the rules for travellers arriving from France, while France is tightening up access to its Health Pass – and plans are on the table to transform it into a Vaccine Pass. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Health Pass Becomes a Vaccine Pass?
France is moving to transform the current Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire), required for access to leisure and cultural venues across the country, into a Vaccine Pass (Pass Vaccinal). The move is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s much-publicised plan to ‘emmerder’ (p*ss off) the unvaccinated by essentially banning them from all bars, restaurants, and tourist sites.
Last week, the bill was approved by parliament and the French Senate is set to start debates today, so we will likely know soon whether or not this bill will be passed. If it does, the rules of using the Health Pass are not set to change; however, access to the pass will only be for the fully vaccinated, and it will no longer be possible to access the pass using a negative Covid-19 test.
As with other requirements for the pass, it is likely that these rules will also extend to all tourists and visitors to France.
2. Boosters Required for all Over 18s in France
On the subject of France’s Health Pass, this Saturday (January 15th) marks the date from which all over-18s must have a booster vaccine in order to maintain access to the Health Pass. The dates and timeframes have been changed quite a few times over the past month, so here’s a round-up of what you need to know:
- Over-18s in France are eligible for a booster from three months after the date of your last vaccine (or recovery from Covid).
- You have up to seven months after this date to receive your booster vaccine; otherwise, your Health Pass will be automatically deactivated.
- From February 15th, this will reduce to four months after the date of your last vaccine (leaving you just one month to get your booster shot).
- Once you have received your booster, be sure to scan the QR code on your vaccine certificate into your Health Pass to avoid deactivation (this isn’t done automatically).
If you are a French resident, find out how to get your booster vaccine in France.
If you are visiting France, note that these rules also apply to you, and you will not be able to access France’s Health Pass if you have not received a booster within the above-mentioned timeframes. However, this does not affect the vaccination requirements at the border – i.e. you don’t currently need a booster to be counted as fully vaccinated for travel to France.
3. UK-France Travel Rules Relaxed
Those travelling to the UK from France can take one thing off their rather long to-do list: as of Friday (January 7th), a pre-departure test is no longer required. Arrivals are still required to pre-book a Day 2 test, but this may now be either a PCR or an antigen (lateral flow) test, and there is no requirement to self-isolate until you receive the results.
France has also promised a relaxation of the rules for travel between France and the UK within the coming weeks, so watch this space.
See the latest rules for travel between France and the UK.
4. France’s Winter Sales Kick Off
Finally, a bit of good news for those living in France. Tomorrow (January 12th) marks the start of France’s winter sales (although they have already started in some areas). This is one of two government-regulated sales periods in which shops can reduce their prices (unlike in other countries, where discounts may be offered year-round), so make the most of it! The sales are set to continue through February 8th.
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