France will now require visitors to museums and other cultural places to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test – .

France will now require visitors to museums and other cultural places to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test – .

Access to museums and other cultural places in France will soon be conditioned on the ability of visitors to prove that they have been fully vaccinated or have recently tested negative for the coronavirus.

As of July 21, the health pass or “health pass” will be required for rooms of more than 50 people. Visitors over 18 must present a QR code with a complete vaccination record, or a negative PCR or antigen test from the previous 48 hours. For children over 12, who only became eligible for vaccination last month, the pass will become mandatory after August 30.

French President Emmanuel Macron had previously promised that the health pass would “never be a discriminatory right of access between the French. It cannot be made compulsory for access to places of daily life.

But the government has backed down in its efforts to encourage vaccination. The use of the health pass, which was previously limited to large-scale events such as concerts, is extended to restaurants, museums, cinemas, shopping malls and long-distance trains.

A man displays smartphones displaying the AOK pass app in the arrivals area of ​​Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport on March 18, 2021. Photo by Eric Piermont / AFP via Getty Images.

“If we don’t act today, the number of cases will continue to rise,” Macron said in a July 12 change announcement.

Vaccination efforts have stalled in France, where only 55% of the eligible population has been vaccinated, and only 40% are fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times.

A protester holds up a sign that reads “Just a protective mask, just one bang, just your freedom.” Photo by Alain Pitton / NurPhoto via Getty Images.

In the fall, the government will start charging for COVID testing, which has been free throughout the pandemic, to discourage people from relying on testing as an alternative to vaccination.

The decision is controversial and has sparked protests across the country. Last Wednesday, Bastille Day, 20,000 people took to the streets to denounce the health pass as an attack on liberty, according to France24 – a number that climbed to 100,000 over the weekend in France. incitement of far-right politician Florian Philippot, reports the Associated Press.

A COVID-19 vaccination center in France. Photo by Pascal Guyot / AFP via Getty Images.

Some museum professionals are also skeptical that the health pass is the best approach to prevent the spread of the virus.

“To give visitors safe access to museums, I tried last year to get sniffer dogs trained in COVID (they are amazing and super efficient). I still think these would be the best solutions, ”curator Marc-Olivier Wahler, former director of the Palais de Tokyo and current director of Paris Art Lab, told Artnet News. “Much better than any mandatory QR code. “

The health pass was launched for the first time on June 9 and is accessible on a special application developed by the government, TousAntiCovid. Visitors from elsewhere in the EU can show their digital EU COVID certificate, and UK travelers can use the NHS COVID Pass.

The government said it would provide details on how international visitors vaccinated outside the EU and the UK can prove their vaccination status “by the end of the week,” according to the local.

Additional reporting by Naomi Rea.

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