NewsWorldTop French court approves law requiring COVID health pass for bars, restaurants

Top French court approves law requiring COVID health pass for bars, restaurants

France’s highest court on Thursday (August 5) upheld a new law requiring the public to hold a health pass to access bars and restaurants, and health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-September, saying it complied with the republic’s founding charter.

In its ruling the Constitutional Council did however strike down several clauses in the legislation, saying that enforcing a compulsory 10-day quarantine on anyone testing COVID-19 positive impinged on freedoms.

It also ruled that while employers could suspend health and frontline workers who refuse to get a COVID-19 shot or show proof of a negative test, they could not dismiss those on short-term contracts.

The legislation is due to come into effect on Aug. 9. It was unveiled by President Emmanuel Macron in July as the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuelled a fourth wave of infections. Macron delivered a simple message at the time: get vaccinated.

It prompted a surge in the vaccination rate as the French faced the prospect of being denied access to bars, restaurants, cafes and cinemas without proof of either vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.

But opponents of the legislation accuse Macron of trampling on freedoms and discriminating against the unvaccinated. Some 200,000 people marched through towns and cities across France in a third weekend of protests on Saturday (July 31) and more are planned.

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