The new requirements for the use of the health pass (pass sanitaire) came into force in France on Monday August 9th. It’s now mandatory to show it in almost all public places and transport for long journeys. The health pass will be mandatory for 12-17 year olds as of September 30. Individuals younger than 12 are exempt.
The health pass takes the form of a QR code testifying to a complete vaccination schedule, the negative results of a Covid-19 test or the recovery of the disease. It was already required since July 21 at the entrance of cultural and leisure places (museums, cinemas, theme parks, festivals, stadiums, etc) welcoming more than 50 people. The threshold disappears and the pass will be required in all the above mentioned places, whatever the level of attendance. As of August 9th, he health pass is extended to cafés, bars and restaurants, both indoor and outdoor.
Only long-distance journeys will be covered by the scheme: by plane, international trains, TGV, intercity trains and long-distance coaches. Random checks will take place on the platforms or in the trains, with “sanctions” if travelers do not respect the law, assured Gabriel Attal. The government spokesman also said that a person who has booked a ticket but could not board because he would have contracted the Covid-19 will be reimbursed.
It is also mandatory for employees and public officials in places that require it for their customers, such as museums and long-distance transportation, but only as of August 30, to give them time to get vaccinated. In most stores, the health pass is not required. However, it may be required, by decision of the departmental prefectures, in shopping centers of more than 20,000 m2.
The fines for absence or fraud with the health pass are heavy because the government wants the “criminal response to be effective, dissuasive and fast to cope with the growth of the epidemic,” indicates a statement from the Ministry of Justice cited by the Journal du Dimanche. Those who are without this document in one of the mandatory places incur a fine of 135 euros, the first time. The amount increases if caught again.
The fine is much higher for those who do not have a health pass and decide to use someone else’s or this false document. In these situations, the fine to be paid is 750 euros (reduced to 135 euros if paid quickly). If within 15 days, the person commits the same infraction again, they will already have to pay 1,500 euros in fine. The fine will increase to 3,750 euros and may even be subject to a six-month prison sentence if the resident is caught a third time within thirty days, underlined the Ministry of Justice.
The government decided to give a “first week of tolerance” for business and establishments, so that they have time to prepare the equipment to check and control use of the health pass. For users, the tolerance may not be justified.
The consequences are even heavier for health pass counterfeiters. The French Ministry of Justice recommends that they be prosecuted for “possession and use of forgery”, incurring a penalty of two to five years in prison, or even “organized fraud”, a crime that can give up to 10 years in prison.