For a month now, mass rallies and protests have been held across France to oppose vaccine passports – which went into effect Monday for restaurants, trains, and other places.
Many activities will now require, according to The Irish Times, “a QR code proving the bearer has received two vaccinations, tested negative within the previous 72 hours or recovered recently from Covid-19.”
Video of the protests have gone viral, along with video that purports to show police roaming around outdoor cafes checking people’s phones for their vaccine passport.
“Those found to be in violation of the law risk a €135 fine,” Irish Times reported. “Three fraudulent uses of a health pass in one month can lead to six months in prison and a €3,750 fine.”
The managers of restaurants and other establishments who fail to check health passes more than three times in a 45-day period can be sentenced to one year in prison and a €9,000 fine,” the outlet noted. “The government promised to be flexible for one week.”
President Emmanuel Macron has followed through on this campaign despite massive protests against the policy on four consecutive Saturdays.
“An estimated 237,000 people demonstrated across the country against the health pass on August 7th,” Irish Times reported. “Such a turnout is unusual for the summer holiday period, but it is tiny compared with the 44 million French people who have received at least one jab.”
Notably, Newsweek reports that French firefighters headed up last weekend’s latest mass protest: “Video posted on Twitter shows the firefighters—some wearing masks—carrying the French flag while walking through Marseille, the second largest city in the nation.”
Health Minister Olivier Véran regretted that “the millions of French people who have respected barrier gestures, were careful for the sake of loved ones and got vaccinated” attracted far less attention than “the magma of people who are anti-state, anti-science and anti-vax.”
A vaccine passport has been required in the country for places like movie theaters, cinemas, theme parks, and sports facilities since July 21st for events where over 50 people have gathered.
France isn’t alone, either. Euronews reports, “A growing number of European countries have started implemented virus pass requirements, each with slightly different rules.”
Users on social media shared video of French police approaching diners and checking to make sure they had their vaccine passport.
The 50 person rule has now been abandoned, and a passport to show vaccination health status is now compulsory for access to all restaurants and bars, including outdoor dining.
“Clients in hotels must present the pass to gain access to public areas including restaurants, bars, swimming pools and health clubs,” Irish Times noted. “Bed and breakfasts and camping sites do not require a pass.”
On the exemption list are churches, takeout vendors, bakeries, grocery stores, and tea salons.
The passport “is required for long journeys by train, plane or coach.”
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