Apr 16th, 2022, 08:00 AM

COVID Health Protocols Fade From the Public Eye

By William Mancilla
Image credit; William Mancilla: Paris skyline on top of Arc de Triomphe
Masks and vaccine passes disappear somewhat from daily life in France

Since the beginning of 2022 the French government has gradually lifted restrictions as more people have begun to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the virus. This has led to a decrease in pressure on hospitals and intensive care units. 

Since Jan. 24, the vaccine pass was made standard (after the health pass, which allowed for negative COVID tests) by the French government to allow fully vaccinated people to enter places such as malls, movie theaters, or other large public spaces. Then in early February the government began to reduce restrictions related to the pandemic, and made it so gatherings in seated venues could once again restart. Then, a couple of weeks later in mid February, standing concerts were allowed once again, drinking in cafes and bars was allowed again, and discotheques were allowed to reopen

Image credit: William Mancilla: Photo of Vacine Pass without QR Code 

Most recently, in March, the vaccine pass has been all but scrapped and is no longer required to access most places, (though many still continue to maintain their own individual policies and requirements). Some places, such as hospitals, elderly homes, or big major tourists attractions still require the vaccine pass to enter as of March. The vaccination pass is also still required to travel within France and elsewhere in Europe. 

To obtain a vaccine pass you must present proof of complete vaccination with a vaccine approved by the French government. According to the Paris visitors website you need to show "two doses and a booster dose within 4 months as of February 15, or a COVID recovery certificate." EU Digital COVID Certificates as well as vaccine passes from other EU member states or Switzerland, Monaco, Norway, the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, or Andorra are also valid. 

Since late October, 2021, people who have been vaccinated outside Europe in their own country can also obtain their vaccination pass in European format on arrival or prior to online. But this process can take a few weeks for the government to verify and approve your certificate from your country. Therefore for sake of speed and time, it is recommended to get the foreign pass conversion at a local pharmacy. The conditions for obtaining the equivalence can be found on the Santé.fr website.

 This service to convert a vaccine certificate outside of Europe to a European digital certificate costs a maximum amount of €36 and you must provide proof of ID to obtain it.

Image credit: Unsplash/ Mark König 

Other restrictions have been easing as well. Masks have been required in many public places since May 2020.

Masks, which have been required in many public places since May, 2020, are no longer required while being outside, and in places where the vaccine pass is mandatory (museums, cinemas, restaurants, cafes, leisure facilities, trade fairs and trade shows).

Image credit: Unsplash/ Mathias P. R.Reding

However, the use of masks is still mandatory on all forms of public transport (RER, buses, trains, metro, car sharing, etc). 

Mask-wearing still allowed, at the personal choice of the wearer, including for pupils and teachers in schools and universities. Mask-wearing is still recommended for people who test positive for COVID, and for at-risk contact cases, for symptomatic people, and for health professionals and for people with autoimmune deficiencies. 

French Health Minister Olivier Véran has also reiterated the recommendation for the elderly and people in a fragile state of health to keep their masks on "when you are in a closed environment with people you do not know and who are potentially contagious."

Image credit: Unsplash/ Mufid Majnun: Patient in a critical Covid-19 ICU unit in a hospital.