France | D-Day for the vaccine passport, resigned restaurateurs

(Paris) Five weeks after its announcement by the government, the vaccine passport replaced on Monday the old health passport, compulsory for those over 16 wishing to go to a restaurant or take the train, a disputed but smooth transition according to the testimonies collected in several cities.

Posted at 11:20 a.m.

France Media Agency

“For us, the vaccination pass does not change much,” says Alain Deriot, manager of the Jour de Pêche restaurant in Lille, whose customers are “often vaccinated”.

“The little pass checks at the entrance, we know how to do […] But identity checks, I don’t see myself doing them, it’s intrusive”, he underlines, while the law now authorizes the managers of establishments to check the identity of customers in case of doubt about the passport presented.

Same story for César Armand, from the Lille bar Les Arts: “Of course, sometimes we have doubts when we look at the date of birth and the person’s head does not match, but I am not a police officer”.

Sammy, a waiter in a café in Paris, notes that, in any case, the lifting of restrictions will be “quickly there”, the government having announced the end of the wearing of masks outdoors and compulsory telework on February 2, then the reopening of nightclubs and the return of over-the-counter consumption on February 16.

But now a negative test is no longer enough, as was the case with the health pass, except to access health establishments and services: from the age of 16, you must provide proof of vaccination status against COVID-19 to access leisure activities, restaurants and bars (except collective catering), fairs or interregional public transport (planes, trains, coaches).

“Not a compulsion”

No big change for the Elancia gym, in Lannion: “Nobody showed me a QR code for a PCR valid for 24 hours. For the third dose, recheck […] this is what activates the card. I have two members who are not vaccinated, we have suspended their subscription, ”explains its manager, Alexia Le Cam.

The vaccine passport “will not be an additional constraint”, estimated Didier Chenet, president of the GNI, employers’ union of independent hotel and restaurant workers, on Europe 1.

Excluding microstates, France is the country in Europe with the highest incidence, with 3,733 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days, according to an AFP count. On the other hand, with 2.46 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days, the country is the 20e in Europe.

Most of the provisions of the bill, adopted on January 16 by Parliament after heated debates, were validated on Friday by the Constitutional Council with the exception, in the midst of the presidential campaign, of the possibility of requiring a health passport during political meetings.

Rare primary vaccines

Still vilified by 40,000 demonstrators on Saturday according to the Interior Ministry, the passport will not push Laurence to take the plunge: “the more we are going to put coercion on my body, on my freedom, the more my decision will be reinforced”, affirms to AFP this fifty-year-old who works in national education and lives in a rural area in the North.

It will now move in “Blablacar”.

“There are a lot of people we haven’t seen since the tests became chargeable. People don’t pay 30 euros (43 dollars) to come and have a coffee,” says Nicolas Seurot, manager of the bar at the Hôtel de Ville in Vannes.

In Rennes, Laure Vuillemin, 47, unvaccinated, tested positive on Saturday, which will validate her passport: “It’s settled for six months but I’m not being clever because it seems that at the 6e day the symptoms can be distressing.”

It is difficult to estimate the number of people deprived of a passport (not vaccinated AND not contaminated in recent months) but in vaccination centers, first-timers are rare: 12 out of 500 in Brequigny and 4 out of 350 in Saint-Grégoire, in the Rennes region. According to figures from the Ministry of Health, more than 52.4 million people are “fully vaccinated” in France.

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