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POLITICS

French parliament approves introduction of vaccine pass

The bill changing France's health pass into a vaccine pass which bars the unvaccinated from venues including cafés, gyms and long-distance trains has been approved by the French parliament and is expected to enter into effect this week.

Health pass control in France
Proof of vaccination will now be required to enter leisure and cultural venues in France. Photo: Pascal Pochard Casablanca/AFP

MPs in the Assemblée nationale voted on the bill’s final reading on Sunday evening, with 215 in favour of the vaccine pass and 58 against.

France has had a health pass in place since the summer, requiring visitors to venues including bars, restaurants, cafés, gyms, leisure centres, theatres, cinemas, tourist sites, large gatherings and long-distance trains to show either proof of vaccination, proof of recent recovery from Covid or a negative Covid test.

However, the passing of this bill means means that only proof of vaccination will be accepted for the pass.

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

The new rule is expected to come into force this week, with Friday, January 21st suggested as a likely start date.

The government’s original planned start date was January 15th, but the bill was delayed several times as it passed through the Assemblée nationale on the first reading, the Senate and then back to the Assemblée nationale.

Some of the opposition parties have said they intend to appeal to the Constitutional Council, which considers whether new laws or decrees in France comply with the country’s constitution.

For people who are already vaccinated and use either a paper vaccination certificate or the TousAntiCovid app to enter health pass venues, nothing will change.

But unvaccinated people will be shut out of a wide range of leisure and cultural venues, although vaccination is only mandatory for health workers in France. 

Member comments

  1. Q ? – Is the plan to keep the vaccine passport only until the Cov.19 Pandemic is over or is the plan that once the pandemic is over the Health Pass be re-tasked to exclude members of society that do not take, say, a flu vaccine ?

    Q ? – Does anyone know where it is that the establishment are developing an ‘anti-social scoring matrix ‘ that is embedded into their National identity pass necessary for access to all manor of aspects of life – in their case, simply put should you in any way offend society you get a black mark which is recorded and then effects you in a number of ways – such as the ability to get Credit, access restaurants, shopping malls and so forth. A – China.

    The most effective tools of a government (with aspiration for more control) is to plant into the conversation of society “what are you trying to hide” – “if you are a good member of society society will reward you with inclusion” –

    If you accept the loss of these freedoms easily – only when you look back and see the aggregate value of the liberty and freedom of self determination you have talked yourself out of will you regret giving up each small piece of freedom so easily now.

    So – when the pandemic is over will the Health Pass go ? And if not why not. We cannot develop a vaccine to give the population without any new Covid variant so when that scenario evolves – which it will do soon, why would we see a continued insistence on the Health Pass.

    I am vaccinated and happy to be so – why should it matter to me if my next door neighbour is un-vaccinated. The vaccine protects me (allegedly) so the only person at risk is my neighbour and that is his choice – surely ?

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POLITICS

French Mediterranean resort’s far-right mayor bans burkinis

The far-right mayor of a resort on the Mediterranean coast of France has banned Muslim women from wearing burkinis in any of the town's swimming pools or beaches - despite previous court rulings saying that this is illegal.

French Mediterranean resort's far-right mayor bans burkinis

Three days after the southeastern city of Grenoble voted to allow swimmers to wear the full-cover swimsuit, the mayor of Fréjus – a member of Marine Le Pen’s far right Rassemblement National party – announced that he had decided to outlaw it.

“I learned with amazement of the authorisation given by the mayor of Grenoble to authorise the burkini in the swimming pools of its commune,” David Rachline wrote in a press release. 

READ ALSO OPINION: If France is to belong in a multicultural world it must accept its Muslim women

In fact, Grenoble updated its rules for municipal swimming pools to allow all bathers to wear any swimsuit – including burkinis – that protected them from the sun. It also permits women to swim topless if they wish and men to wear swim shorts instead of Speedos.

No-one seems to have had an issue with the swim shorts or the topless rule, but the addition of the ‘burkini’ to the list of accepted swimwear caused a major stir, with many lining up to condemn the move – including France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who ordered the local Préfet to review the decision, and later announced that he had asked for a legal challenge to the new regulations.

READ ALSO French government aims to block ‘burkinis’ in swimming pools

Rachline has pre-empted any decision from the government by acting unilaterally, trotting out the familiar refrain from the right that the decision in Grenoble goes against the “fundamental republican principle of secularism”.

“The express authorisation of the burkini is neither more nor less than an electoral provocation with a communitarian spring, implemented by the radical left,” he said.

“I see a culpable complacency with radical Islamism, for electoral purposes and in defiance of national cohesion.

“In order for things to be clearly stated, I have decided, as mayor of Fréjus, guarantor of public hygiene and safety, to modify the corresponding decrees to explicitly specify the ban on the burkini.”

His ban extends to both the town’s municipal swimming pools and its beaches, and he’s not the first southern mayor to attempt to ban burkinis on beaches.

In 2016, Cannes mayor David Lisnard issued an anti-burkini order on the beaches of his town.

The decision, which had also been taken in municipalities such as Villeneuve-Loubet (Alpes-Maritimes), was overturned after an opinion from the Conseil d’Etat, one of France’s highest legal authorities. 

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