France’s coronavirus pass now required in restaurants and on trains

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People in France are now required to show a QR code proving they have a special coronavirus pass to enjoy restaurants and cafes or travel across the country.

The measure is part of a government plan to encourage more people to get the vaccine and to slow down a surge in infections, as the highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for most cases in France.

More than 36 million people in France, or over 54% of the population, are fully vaccinated.

The special pass is issued to people who are vaccinated against Covid-19, who have proof of recent recovery from the virus or who have a recent negative test.

A railway employee checks the Covid-19 health pass that everyone in the country needs to enter cafes, trains and other venues at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris
A railway employee checks a Covid-19 health pass at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris (Adrienne Surprenant/AP)

In hospitals, visitors and patients who have appointments are required to have the pass.

Exceptions are made for people needing urgent care at the emergency ward.

The pass is now required on high-speed, intercity and night trains carrying more than 400,000 passengers per day, transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said.

It is also required on long-distance travel by plane and bus.

“We’re going to enforce massive controls,” Mr Djebbari said.

Paper or digital documents are accepted.

People arrive at the Gare de Lyon train station where a sign reads 'A ticket, a mask, a health pass, in Paris
People arrive at the Gare de Lyon train station where a sign reads ‘A ticket, a mask, a health pass’ (Adrienne Surprenant/AP)

But the measure has prompted strong opposition from some people who say their freedoms will be compromised, notably by limiting movements and daily activities outside the home.

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

The pass was already in place last month for cultural and recreational venues including cinemas, concert halls, sports arenas and theme parks.

The law also requires healthcare workers to be vaccinated against the virus by September 15.

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