France has rolled back its health pass and mask rules © Getty Images
France has rolled back its health pass and mask rules © Getty Images

France suspends health pass and some mask rules

TripFalcon March 15, 2022

Last Update: 2024-01-03 23:43:11

France is easing two of its major COVID-19 rules today by suspending the health pass and lifting mask mandates.

After months of requiring its vaccine or health pass at venues across the country, France has suspended the vaccine pass requirement to enter indoor establishments today (March 14). It has also removed masking requirements in most venues, with the exception of public transportation. Private businesses can still choose to require masks if they desire. 

France tightened the rules of its vaccine pass as Omicron cases spiked, but in an interview with France's TF1 last week, Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed the rollback of requirements as "the situation is improving."

In addition, France made some changes to its entry rules and added the United States to its 'green' list for travel, making it easier for Americans to visit.

Here's what you need to know about the major rule changes in France and how they could impact your trip.

France suspends the health and vaccine pass

France required people, including tourists, to show a vaccine or health pass to board public transport and to enter most venues including museums, galleries, theaters, resrtaurants, and tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower.

The vaccine pass (pass vaccinal), introduced in January, indicated that the holder had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and applied to anyone over the age of 16, though those over 18 were required to show proof of a booster too.

The health pass (pass sanitaire) applied for people aged between 12 and 15 and was either proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test (taken within 24 hours prior).

As of Monday, March 14, the passes have been suspended which means you won't need one to enter an indoor facility unless you're visiting a nursing home facility. However, as they are 'suspended' rather than scrapped, the passes could be introduced again if cases spike or a new COVID-19 variant of concern emerges.

Where do I need to wear a mask in France?

Mask mandates have been lifted in most venues including shops, restaurants, gyms, museums and workplaces, but there are some exceptions. If you're traveling to France you'll need to wear a mask in airports and transport stations. You'll also need one to board public transport and taxis, including Uber. Failure to comply could result in a €135 fine. 

Do I need to show proof of vaccination to enter France?

Generally speaking, yes. If you want to avoid additional restrictions such as testing or quarantine, it's a good idea to show proof of vaccination.

To be considered fully vaccinated, you must have received a booster dose no later than nine months after receiving the last dose of your primary vaccine schedule if you're over 18. Those aged between 12 and 17 don't need to show proof of a booster to be considered fully vaccinated.

France accepts vaccines authorized by the European Union (EU) or those approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use.

What are the entry rules for visiting France?

The documentation you need to enter France during the pandemic varies depending on where you are coming from.

If you're traveling from the EU or any country signed up to the EU digital COVID cert program, you can present your digital COVID-19 certificate or any approved European health certificate that documents your vaccination status to avoid additional restrictions. If you're unvaccinated, you'll need to take a negative test prior to departure.

If you're traveling from the UK, you can present a digital or paper NHS certificate showing their full vaccine status to avoid testing. If you're unvaccinated, you'll need to take a negative test prior to departure.

If you're traveling from the US, the same rules apply. The US is now classified as a 'green' or low-risk country and passengers are asked to present their CDC vaccination cards. Unvaccinated arrivals must take a negative test prior to departure.

If you're traveling from elsewhere, you'll need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test if you're coming from a 'green' or low-risk country. If you're coming from an 'orange' or mid-risk country, you'll be asked to show proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated passengers from orange countries must present an essential reason for traveling.

Where can I get tested in France?

If you need to take a test for your return journey home, you shouldn't have much hassle finding one in France. Testing is widely available in France in most pharmacies and medical facilities but you'll generally need to make an appointment in advance. Most pharmacies can do antigen tests for about €25, and PCR tests can cost about €45. You can find testing locations near you through the COVID testing map.

Source: lonelyplanet