COVID-19 pass compulsory in restaurants, on trains in France

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France took a big step into a post-pandemic future on Monday by demanding that people show a QR code proving they have a special health pass before they can enjoy restaurants and cafes or travel across the country .

The measure is part of a government plan to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and slow an upsurge in infections, as the highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for most cases in France. More than 36 million people in France, or more than 54% of the population, are fully vaccinated.

The special pass is issued to people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, or who have proof of recent recovery from the coronavirus or who have recently tested negative. The measure also applies to tourists visiting the country.

In hospitals, visitors and patients who have an appointment are required to have the pass. Exceptions are made for people requiring urgent care in the emergency department.

The pass is now compulsory on high-speed, interurban and night trains, which carry more than 400,000 passengers per day in France, said on Monday the head of the Ministry of Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari. It is also necessary for long distance travel by plane or bus.

“We are going to impose massive checks,” Djebbari said.

Paper or digital documents are accepted.

Meanwhile, Paris St.-Germain football club will be treated to a large crowd for their first home game of the season against Strasbourg in the French league on Saturday. PSG said the Paris prefecture approved 49,700 fans at the Parc des Princes stadium, with spectators expected to show their virus passes.

Polls show that most French people support the health pass. But the measure has met strong opposition from some people who say it compromises their freedoms by restricting movement and daily activities outside the home.

On Saturday, thousands of protesters marched in Paris and other French cities for a fourth consecutive week of protests against the measure.

The virus pass has already been in place since last month in cultural and recreational venues, including cinemas, concert halls, sports arenas and theme parks.

The law also requires that French health workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 before September 15.

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