After two turbulent weeks, Parliament has definitively adopted the controversial bill establishing the vaccine pass. The government wants to see the system enter into force as soon as possible in the face of the “tidal wave” of Covid-19. Vaccination pass from the age of 16, tougher penalties for fraud… We come back to the main provisions of the bill “strengthening the tools for managing the health crisis”.
Vaccination pass widely required
Article 1 provides that proof of vaccination status for Covid-19 will be requested from people aged 16 or over, instead of the current health pass, to access leisure activities, restaurants and bars. drinks (with the exception of collective catering), fairs, seminars and trade shows and interregional public transport (planes, trains, coaches). In the case of transport, an exception is provided for: no need for a pass for “compelling family or health reasons” – a dying relative for example – subject to presenting a negative test, “except in the event of emergency”. Employees in the sectors concerned will be required, under certain conditions, to have such a pass. A “proof of commitment to a vaccination schedule” may be sufficient, the time to receive the required doses. A simple health pass (negative Covid test, certificate of complete vaccination or certificate of recovery) will remain valid for those over 12 in order to access health establishments and medico-social services, except in emergencies, whether for the sick or their companions. And minors aged 12 to 15 will remain subject to the obligation to present the current health pass for access to leisure activities, restaurants and bars, fairs or interregional public transport. The organizers of political rallies will have the possibility of requiring a health pass from participants. For other halls and stadiums, the rules for public access may take into account “the health situation” and the “characteristics” of these places, in particular their reception capacity. Large gatherings are currently limited to a uniform gauge of 2,000 people indoors, 5,000 outdoors.
To obtain the new vaccination pass, you will need a complete schedule (two doses or just one, depending on the vaccine). From February 15, you will have to take a booster dose four months – and no longer seven – after your second dose for the pass to remain valid. In certain circumstances to be defined by decree, and in the name of “the interest of public health”, the combined presentation of proof of vaccination status and a negative test may be required.
The vaccination pass must come into effect in the coming days but the prefects will be able to adapt the date, in particular in Overseas where the vaccination rate is lower.
Hardened fight against fraud
Checks: in addition to the police, the managers of places and activities subject to the pass, such as cafeterias and restaurateurs, will be able to check these passes but under very strict conditions. Thus, “when there are serious reasons to believe that the document presented is not related to the person presenting it”, it may be requested “an official document bearing his photograph” Exchange: the fact of presenting a pass belonging to others and the fact of transmitting to others a pass with a view to its fraudulent use will be punished on the first breach with a fixed fine of 1,000 euros, against 135 euros currently. False pass: the possession itself of several false passes will be punished by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros. “Repentance”: under the condition of engaging in a vaccination course, there may be no penalty for false pass. The lack of control of the pass by the operator of an establishment open to the public will be liable from the first breach to a fine of 1,000 euros, against a sanction from the third breach currently. Companies that do not play the telework game to fight the epidemic may be penalized with an administrative fine of up to 500 euros per employee, up to a limit of 50,000 euros.
The bill programs the state of health emergency until March 31 in Martinique, Reunion, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Mayotte, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin. And if this exceptional regime, which allows re-containment or a curfew, was declared on another overseas territory before March 1, it would be automatically extended until the end of March as well.
In mainland France, it is a transitional regime called “exit from the state of health emergency” which is already in force, and this until July 31, 2022. It is this regime, a sort of toolbox to the provision of the government, which makes it possible to order restrictive measures (circulation of people, demonstrations, access to establishments open to the public, etc.) including the pass.
In the event of a worsening of the epidemic and if there were a need for more severe measures, the state of health emergency should be reactivated in mainland France. And if this regime were to be extended for more than four weeks, Parliament would have to authorize it.