Health pass largely validated by France’s Constitutional Council
Thursday, 05 August 2021
On Thursday, the French Constitutional Council validated the health pass, including for cafés and restaurants, while rejecting the compulsory isolation of infected people.
According to the Council, the health pass is the result of a “balanced conciliation” between public liberties and health protection, in a decision that is crucial for the government’s planned implementation of this measure on Monday.
However, the constitutional judges consider that the mandatory isolation of patients for a period of ten days was not “necessary,” “appropriate” or “proportionate.”
They also rejected the provisions concerning the termination of contracts of employees on fixed-term contracts who do not present the pass if their activity requires it, considering that there was a “difference in treatment” with people on permanent contracts, who cannot be dismissed for this reason.
The pass, which is certificate of vaccination, negative test or certificate of recovery, has been contested by several political parties, and has also been strongly denounced by demonstrations every Saturday for the past month.
The last one gathered some 200,000 people, and calls have already been made for next Saturday across France.
However, none of the objections, such as “disproportionate” infringement of freedoms, problems with controls entrusted to restaurant waiters or SNCF inspectors for example or a “disguised vaccination obligation,” were accepted.
The Council also found nothing wrong with compulsory vaccination for health care workers and other professions in contact with people at risk.
Additionally, it also validates the pass for visitors or non-emergency patients in health establishments and retirement homes as long as the latter does not constitute “an obstacle to access to care.”
The possibility for prefects to subject access to certain shopping centres to the health pass is also validated in a “proportionate” manner, according to the council.
The health pass already came into force in July in “leisure and cultural venues” with more than 50 people.
With the new law, however, it will be extended to cafés, restaurants, trade fairs and exhibitions, as well as to planes, trains, long-distance buses and medical facilities, except in emergencies.
Young people between the ages of 12 and 17 are exempt until 30 September.