France launched a new initiative requiring people who want to enjoy dining in a restaurant to show a QR code proving they have a special virus pass. The new policy also applies to people who want to travel by plane, train, or bus across the country.
The new measures are part of the government’s plan to sway more people to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot. Right now just over 36 million people, or more than 54% of the population in France, are fully vaccinated.
According to the new policy, a special pass is issued to people who are vaccinated against COVID-19, those who have proof of a recent recovery from the virus, or those who have a recent negative test. The measure also applies to tourists visiting France.
An AP reporter in the southern city of Marseille said they saw several restaurant owners who did not check clients for the pass. “Many in the entertainment business are annoyed that the government is foisting such a job on them,” according to AP.
The owner of the Backstage restaurant and bar in a theater district on Paris’ Left Bank said the checks made him feel like a police officer but he still followed government orders, the report added.
″This involves putting on another cap,” Pierre Arnoux told AP. “We have to ask the client if — yes or no — they are validated to have a drink at my restaurant. This is rather unusual. I must admit this isn’t for me.”
The government’s plan has led to four weekends of protests with nearly a quarter of a million people participating across the country on Saturday.
The health pass is generated in a QR code either by a full course of vaccinations, a recent negative virus test, or a recovery from COVID-19. The government expects a one-week grace period for consumers and businesses to get used to the new rules.