As other countries such as the UK lift Covid restrictions, France is buckling down on its health measures and tightening regulations for unvaccinated citizens and travellers. Here’s what you need to know about France’s Health Pass, local laws, and travelling in France from this week on.
1. France’s Health Pass Comes into Force
After extended parliamentary debates and widespread public manifestations against France’s new Health Pass rules, the French Parliament has now passed a new law governing their use. As we announced last week, the pass is currently required for entry to all cultural venues in France including cinemas, gyms, and museums, as well as all festivals and events with more than 50 people in attendance.
From Sunday August 1st it will also be required for entrance to all bars, cafes, and restaurants, as well as long-distance buses and trains, visits to hospitals and retirement homes, and entrance to large shopping centres. Businesses not complying with these rules are faced with fines and forced closures (slightly relaxed from the initial proposal for criminal charges and possible imprisonment). All of this will make it much harder for those who are unvaccinated to live and travel in France, however vaccines remain mandatory only for healthcare workers.
For those resident in France, the Pass Sanitaire (Health Pass) is available on France’s TousAntiCovid app — scan the QR code of your vaccination or Covid test certificate to activate it.
Vaccines are now available in France for everyone over the age of 12 and can be booked online at Doctolib or through your médecin traitant.
2. Health Pass Access for US and UK Visitors
Up until last week, France’s Health Pass was only available for those who received their vaccines in France, but the good news is that it is now possible for some foreign travellers to access the app.
For UK residents or those who received their vaccine in the UK, you can now scan your NHS vaccine QR code directly into the French TousAntiCovid app. Note that this only works with the most recent versions of the NHS Covid Pass (those which have two QR codes), so if you don’t have one of these, you will need to download a new one from the NHS app or website. NHS Covid Passes are only valid for 30 days after download, so make sure you scan it before it runs out. If not, don’t worry – you can simply download a new one.
For American travellers, accessing the French Health Pass depends on the vaccine certificate you have received – some have scannable QR codes which may be accepted by the app, but others do not. It is possible to present your American vaccination certificate at a French pharmacy and have them exchange this for a French vaccination certificate (which will then be recognised by the app). However, not all pharmacies will be aware that this can be done and you may run into some difficulties. Rest assured, your American vaccination certificate will be admissible in place of the Health Pass for the time being, and we’ll keep you updated once we know more.
3. Travelling in France: Local Laws and Health Measures
Covid cases numbers have been on the rise in recent weeks and, as both French and overseas travellers head off on holiday, it’s unsurprisingly the country’s coastal regions and tourist hotspots that have been hit the hardest. The map below, published by Le Parisien, shows the surge along the west coast, the Côte d’Azur, and the French islands of Martinique, La Reunion, and Guyane, as well as rising numbers throughout the Alps, Brittany, and Normandy.
While the Health Pass rules will be applied nationally, many local regions of France are also reintroducing health restrictions in an attempt to temper this fourth wave. Cities including Nice, Bordeaux, Lille, Toulouse, Montpellier, and Saint-Malo have all imposed mandatory mask-wearing in outdoor spaces, along with some coastal resorts in the Vendée, Var, Hérault, and other regions. Some departments have also imposed curfews for bars and restaurants, or banned large gatherings and events.
The exact rules and regulations vary greatly depending on the city or region, so it’s important to find out before you visit. The local mairie, regional government Facebook pages, or any tourist establishment will be able to advise you of the applicable laws.
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