France took a big step Monday into a post-pandemic future by requiring people to show a QR code proving they have a special virus pass before they can enjoy restaurants and cafes or travel across the country, per the AP. The special pass is issued to people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, have proof of a recent recovery from the virus, or who have a recent negative test. Over 36 million people in France, or more than 54% of the population, are fully vaccinated. The measure also applies to tourists visiting the country. People without a pass where it's required risk a fine of 135 euros, or about $160. The government said that for the first week of implementation, police controls will not lead to sanctions for noncompliance but instead will be an occasion to explain the law.
In the southern city of Marseille, several restaurant owners had decided not to check clients for the pass, an AP reporter saw on Monday. Many don't consider it their job to enforce the measure. In hospitals, visitors and patients who have appointments are required to have the pass. Exceptions are made for people needing urgent care at the emergency ward. The pass is also required on high-speed, intercity, and night trains, which carry over 400,000 passengers per day in France, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said Monday. It's also required for long-distance travel by plane or bus.
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