France Travel: Is The Country Returning To Health Passes And Masks?

Whilst many EU countries have been eagerly revoking travel restrictions across Europe, France remains one of the most prominent to still keep some travel restrictions in place—a guide to current French travel restrictions can be found here.

France’s mask mandate was dropped on 16 May 2022, almost two years to the day when it was first brought in. But now, with rising Covid-19 rates across France (reaching 342,504 cases were reported last week), the French Health Minister called on people to start wearing masks again on public transport—but did make it clear that it was simply advice rather than a mandatory requirement.

She also suggested it was a good idea if its citizens once again decided to cover up faces whilst in crowded public places. Masks are currently only mandatory in medical establishments or places such as retirement homes.

This comes at the same time as the European Parliament agreed to extend the regulation that established the EU digital COVID certificate—the EUDCC as it is known has been in use across EU borders since 1 July 2021 (although many countries have since dropped the requirement). The regulation will be extended until 30 June 2023, for another year.

This certificate has allowed European countries to easily establish a traveler’s health status, whether they are recovered, vaccinated or have tested negative for Covid-19 and when.

And there are reports that the French government is considering re-introducing the Health Pass at its borders—a leaked document to the French press has shown that this is one possible proposal to reduce rising Covid-19 infection rates across the country.

It has been made clear that this is just one suggestion and is not a return to the Vaccine Pass—where people had to be vaccinated to remain fully involved in French public life. Individuals can remain in a state of permanent testing with the Health pass as vaccination is not a pre-requisite for validation.

However, it does show just how seriously the French government are taking the rising Covid-19 rates and it might also dictate just how long the current Covid-19 travel restrictions remain in place.

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