France has laid out a plan to gradually start welcoming back international tourists this June.
In the wake of France’s vaccine roll out, and as part of a strategy to kickstart the economy, President Emmanuel Macron, on April 29, announced a four-phase plan to ease the country’s month-long stay-at-home order.
Key to the country’s reopening timeline, which was published by local newspapers last week, is that non-EU visitors in possession of a "health pass" will be allowed to visit France, for any reason, starting June 9, 2021.
Talk of a health pass – a “pass sanitaire” – for the purpose of kickstarting tourism in France first surfaced in April.
The full technical details of France’s health pass are still unknown, but it’s been reported that the pass will make it possible to present proof of vaccination, or a negative PCR screening test, or proof of COVID-19 immunity (ie: a certificate of recovery).
The pass may take the form of a QR code, or be expressed in paper or digital formats.
France is the first EU country to pilot a digital travel certificate. It aligns with the “EU COVID-19 Certificate,” another pass in development, also aiming to launch this June, that will reopen travel within the EU.
Full details of France’s health pass are expected to be released soon on the website of the French Embassy in Canada.
France’s plan to reopen tourism, however, does not change Canada’s current travel restrictions – the federal government still recommends avoiding non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice) and has strict return-home requirements.
A return to normal?
Still, France’s agenda suggests that a return to normalcy is on the horizon.
Some of its local targets, over the next few weeks, include:
- allowing cafes, bars and restaurants to offer outside service from May 19.
- pushing back nightly curfew to 9:00 p.m. from 7:99 p.m. from May 19 and to 11:00 p.m. from June 9, before being abolished completely on June 30.
- reopening museums, cinemas and theatres on May 19.
- allowing large groups of people to congregate at cultural and sporting events from June 30.
Of course, the plan could be changed or modified at any time, depending on the local health situation.
According to a COVID-19 vaccine tracker by Reuters, roughly 22 per cent of French citizens have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
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