France and Italy impose a strict Covid-19 vaccination mandate, a preview for US cities

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France has been requiring passports since Monday that certify that someone has been vaccinated against Covid-19 for people who want to dine in a restaurant, whether inside or outside. The pass is now also required for domestic flights as well as for long-distance buses and trains. France already made the pass compulsory last month for a variety of other activities such as entry to museums, swimming pools, gyms and major sporting events.

“Some customers say they received the vaccine but did not come with the health card and we have to apologize, we cannot accept you,” said Mr Zerbos, who works as a host at Fouquet’s in Paris, in serious trouble, when we take in someone without a health passport. “

Italy also made the digital health pass compulsory for a number of activities last Friday, although unvaccinated people can still dine in restaurants if they sit outdoors. The certificates, known as the green passport in Italy and the health passport in France, show a personal QR code that shows whether a person has been vaccinated, has recovered from Covid-19 or has recently tested negative for the virus.

France and Italy are at the forefront of a European trend towards rules that effectively separate the population into vaccinated and unvaccinated people and facilitate the resumption of normal everyday life. Governments hope the new rules will encourage more people to get vaccinated and contain the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, preventing a return to lockdowns later this year.

In the US, some cities and states have started to impose similar restrictions while trying to coexist with the virus. New York City will be demanding vaccination records for customers and workers at restaurants and gyms next week, though inspections and enforcements won’t start until September.

The EU’s digital certificates have been around since July 1st, but most governments have only recently started making them compulsory for activities other than cross-border travel. The rules differ across the continent and sometimes within countries.

In Germany, the requirements for the health passport vary from region to region, based on local infection rates. In Berlin, for example, you need a vaccination, immunity or a recent negative test to eat indoors or go to the gym.

For Americans traveling to Paris, tourist attractions such as the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles also accept vaccination cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. American tourists can also use their US cards to apply for a QR code online that works in France. Bars and restaurants in Italy also accept CDC cards.

Rising restrictions on the unvaccinated have only sparked small protests in Italy, but protesters took to the streets in France for the fourth weekend in a row on Saturday. The French Interior Ministry estimates that more than 237,000 protesters marched in cities across France, including Paris, Lille and Nice.

The new requirements have sparked a vaccination boom in both France and Italy and intensified vaccination campaigns that had slowed down. In the three days after the French government announced that people would need health passports to go to a restaurant, more than three million people have made reservations for an initial vaccination.

The two countries have given about 65% of their total population at least one dose of vaccine, compared to about 58% in the US, according to Our World in Data

In La Tourelle, a bistro in St. Mandé, east of Paris, the number of people who came on Monday morning had fallen by around 80% compared to a week earlier, said manager Noé Rodrigues, which he attributed to the new rules. Of those who came, about half were turned away, some of whom only had the first vaccination.

“We’re here to please you, and when a customer sits down, the first thing we ask is to check their health card. That bothers me a little, ”said Mr Rodrigues.

With most of Italy enjoying mild weather, the new rules have not affected restaurant and bar business, as the majority of diners have already chosen to sit outside where no vaccination certificate is required.

“As long as the weather lasts, the Green Pass is not a problem at the moment because people want to be outside,” said Andrea Linguanti, who owns two restaurants on a canal in Milan’s Navigli district, a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

On Saturday evening, all the tables outside in his two restaurants were occupied. A couple of groups sat inside after showing their certificates, he said.

Alluding to how important it is for Italians to drink an espresso or cappuccino inside a café, this is also possible without proof of vaccination if the customer does not stay. The certificate, which is issued in Italy after the first dose of vaccination, will be required on flights and long-distance trains and buses from September 1st.

Matteo Minguzzi, a hotel worker in Milan, spent Saturday night drinking with friends along the canals. A venue had no space outside so they sat inside after showing their QR codes.

“I am not convinced that vaccination is the best policy,” said 33-year-old Minguzzi, wanting to be vaccinated could backfire. “

In most restaurants, bars, and other places where similar rules apply, such as: For example, museums, employees use a smartphone or other device to check people’s QR codes.

French institutions that fail to check health cards risk a fine of 1,500 euros, which can increase to 9,000 euros and a year in prison after the third violation within a month. Italian restaurant and bar owners risk a fine of up to € 1,000 for failing to enforce the Green Pass requirement and can be forced to close for up to 10 days if caught three times on three different days. In both countries, customers who break the rules can also be fined.

This story was posted through a news agency feed with no changes to the text

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