In an effort to combat an increasing number of Delta variant Covid cases, France is set to introduce tighter restrictions affecting cultural activities beginning July 21. From that date, it will become mandatory for those over 12-years-old to show the official EU Digital Covid Certificate (or “health pass”) to access all cultural and leisure venues where more than 50 people are gathered. This will include cinemas, live theater, amusement parks, concerts and festivals, French president Emmanuel Macron announced in an address to the nation this evening.
These new measures will not affect the Cannes Film Festival which is currently in full swing and has required the health pass for those with access to it, or proof of negative tests every 48 hours for non-vaccinated and non-EU delegates, in order to gain entry to the Palais.
The health pass certifies that people are either fully vaccinated or have recently tested negative for Covid. Similar proof is already required for concerts and cultural venues where more than 1,000 people are assembled.
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France lifted the bulk of its Covid restrictions from June 30, doing away with a nationwide curfew and increasing cinema capacity to 100%. While local media had speculated that curbs on capacity would be reintroduced this evening, Macron did not go that far. France’s box office has rebounded strongly since cinemas reopened on May 19 after nearly seven months of closures.
However, from the beginning of August, the health pass requirement will extend to bars, cafés, restaurants, malls, planes and trains among others. It may further be extended to other activities.
Macron unveiled the new measures as he also pressed for what he termed a “summer of mobilization” to ensure vaccinations across the board. Yesterday, there were 4,256 new cases versus 2,549 the previous Sunday.
French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot told France 3 earlier, “What I want is for the cultural sector to continue to live and the health pass and vaccinations are absolutely indispensable.”