This month will now see a major expansion of France’s health pass, the “Pass Sanitaire,” needed to access a wide rage of sites including bars cafés, museums, tourist sites and coach or train travel. But how can people who are not residents of France access this pass?
This French “health pass” has been in use since June 9th, but was only being used to access large events like concerts, sports matches and nightclubs. However President Macron has just announced that over the summer it will be greatly expanded to include activities such as going to cafés and restaurants, visiting museums and tourist sites, and traveling on long-distance train or bus coach journeys. In short, if you’re in France you’re going to need it.
The Pass Sanitaire shows one of three things: your vaccination status, a recent negative Covid test, or recent recovery from Covid. You must prove one of these three things to access venues listed as “requiring a health passport.” This will include museums (even large ones like the Louvre and small ones like the Bourse de Commerce) beginning July 21, 2021.
It is part of the (French citizens-only) Covid tracker app TousAntiCovid. For people who were vaccinated in France this is pretty simple – they scan the QR code on their vaccination certificate into the app which then generates a code which they can use to access any location. It is not looped into results/cards from the U.S.
So what about tourists and visitors? The TousAntiCovid app is available in the app store and works on non-French smart phones. If your phone settings are to English, the app will largely appear in English on your phone. Since it won’t show American test results or vaccines info, it will really just be to track your movements and alert you if you have been exposed to the disease while in France.
Last Tuesday, a French government spokesman said there would be a ‘relaxation’ of the rules for people vaccinated outside the EU who cannot easily use the French health pass. The foreign ministry promised a country-by-country breakdown of how this will work but as of today there is nothing new to report.
This French pass (which has a QR code that can be scanned) will be required to enter any cultural or leisure space that hosts more than fifty people… like movie houses, theatres, art galleries, museums and any large tourist sight.
At the beginning of August 2021, the pass will expand to be required at bars, cafés, restaurants, hospitals and shopping centers. People will also need the pass if traveling on a long-distance trip by rail or bus coach.
In regard to children: by August 31st, kids over age twelve will be required to show the health pass also, so families traveling from countries that are not yet vaccinating children will need to bear in mind.
The best advice when you’re in Paris? Go only to the organized and reliable Pharmacie de la Place de la République located at 5 Place de la République. Go early in the day if possible. The only glitch is that you’ll have to provide a French phone number. (Their form goes nuts if you try to put in an American phone number.) The nurses performing the tests in the outdoor tent there have confirmed that only a French phone number works. Since it doesn’t matter whose number you use, feel free to use your hotel’s phone number. What matters more is a reliable email address, to which results will be sent. Do not rely on SMS messaging for this!
Fill out the form, get the test, and then go inside to pay for the 29 Euro test. Hand the receipt to the testing person and before you have walked a few blocks you might already have your results in PDF form by email. (Make sure you have already “confirmed” your email with a verification code that was sent to your inbox as part of the set-up process.)
If flying from France, no one at the airport will probably utter a word about COVID tests until the very last step of being checked at the gate right before boarding. At that time, present the PDF in the email so they can verify your name, birth date, and date of the test.
Passengers showing only their paper CDC card showing full vaccination will be turned away. Remember, you will need that negative test within 72 hours of your flight, either PCR or antigen. The latter is faster.
Three million French citizens made vaccination appointments when this new QR code pass was announced! So keep in mind that as things improve there, all of the above can change almost overnight and then everything will be open and accessible again.