French will need a health pass by Monday after court approval


Paris — Thursday’s French Constitutional Court will require people to carry a special COVID-19 health pass to access cafes, restaurants, long-distance trips and even hospitals starting next week, most aspects of the new law Was verified. However, it broke some steps to fail to meet the constitutional convocation.

The Constitutional Council has ruled that the automatic 10-day quarantine of people infected with the virus is only allowed to go out for two hours a day, which is against France’s freedom. The ruling said that such deprivation of liberty was not “necessary, adaptive, proportional”. The current, less stringent 10-day self-quarantine against people infected with the virus remains clearly valid.

The court also withdrew the suspension of short-term contracts for those without a health pass, but accepted the suspension without compensation for paid employees with long-term contracts.

The bill was urgently speeded up through Parliament last week as viral infections surged due to the highly contagious delta mutant, which now accounts for most cases in France.

Polls show that most French people support a health pass. However, there are enthusiastic opponents of the bill, and many argue that their freedom is jeopardized. It is issued to either those who have been vaccinated with COVID-19, those who have evidence of recent recovery from infection, or recent negative tests.

Anti-heath pass demonstrator
Participants in the Anti-Heathpass demonstration will meet with police officers outside the Constitutional Council in Paris on August 5, 2021. (Michel Euler / AP Photo)

From Monday, you will be required to enter long-distance trips by train, plane or bus, restaurants, cafes, their terraces and rest areas. This is one of the long lists stipulated by law and approved by the ruling. The special court seemed to be swayed by the rules, but found that there was an overall balance between freedom and the “constitutional value of health protection.”

The council also approved that health care workers will be required to be vaccinated against the virus by September 15. In addition, we have determined that it is justified to request a medical pass from hospital visitors, etc., if it does not interfere with access to medical care.

Hundreds of noisy protesters in front of the Constitutional Council in Paris have accused the ruling in the eyes of nearly the same number of heavily armed police.

Julian Bailey, 37, who makes the harpsichord, had a “health dictatorship: stop” sticker on his shirt.

He said he was completely vaccinated, but “not because oppressive laws force them, but everyone should be free to make that choice. Soon, in all of life. You’ll need a QR code, “he added. “This is a slippery slope and an unprecedented attack on our freedom.”

Critics complain that it limits their movement outside the home and implicitly mandates vaccination. Opponents have demonstrated tens of thousands of people nationwide over the past three Saturdays, and more protests are expected this weekend.

A 26-year-old protester who identified himself only with Charlotte said he did not trust the COVID-19 vaccine and was resentful of being forced. “Healthpath doesn’t change my decision, I never get the vaccine,” she said.

The Constitutional Council, which reviewed the law, is a special court that examines the constitutionality of legislation in particular.

The Health Pass is valid from 21 July at cultural and recreational facilities such as cinemas, concert halls and theme parks that can accommodate more than 50 people. However, the new law greatly expands its application.

Many restaurant owners say it’s not their job to check each client’s path and enforce the law. Some medical professionals have expressed fear that patients in need of non-urgent treatment may suffer.

Vanessa Sea, co-owner of a noodle restaurant near the Champs Elysees, said:

“We’ve been insulted several times. People called us sold out and, worse, we’d take action,” she said. “But with the bills we piled up during the pandemic … it’s a matter of our survival.”

Prime Minister Jean Castex said the ruling would enable “a complete deployment of the strategy for COVID-19.” Disappointed with the withdrawal of the article on strict quarantine of infected persons, he called for “close” respect for the recommended quarantine.

As of Wednesday night, more than 28,700 new infections were reported. This has skyrocketed since a month ago. The pandemic killed more than 112,000 people in France.

Elaine Ganley and Constantin Gouvy

Associated Press