Sea Change: France, Ireland Set to Follow England in Easing COVID Restrictions

A demonstrator carries a french flag past a line of gendarmes, during protests against the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination for certain workers and the mandatory use of the health pass called for by the French government outside the Council d'Etat and Conseil Constitutionnel in Paris on August 5, 2021. - The …

The first hints of a Coronavirus policy sea change appear to be underway in Europe, as both Ireland and France look set to follow England in easing restrictions.

Both France and Ireland look set to begin easing COVID restrictions, with officials in both countries outlining plans for an escape from lockdown rules in the wake of the UK’s government announcing a bonfire of regulations for England.

Movement in both nations comes just days after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a wide variety of measures — including the mandatory wearing of masks in a multitude of public places — would be imminently scrapped.

According to a report by the Irish Independent, Ireland is now also looking at dumping a wide variety of lockdown rules, including scrapping all measures to do with the nation’s embattled hospitality sector.

The paper reports that the nation’s National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has also recommended the end of the nation’s internal system of vaccine certs, potentially putting to an end the banning of unjabbed individuals within Ireland from indoor dining, among other amenities, unless they can prove that they have recovered from the Chinese Coronavirus.

A negative COVID test has never been sufficient within the country as a method to bypass such restrictions.

France, meanwhile, has also published its plan to escape from lockdown, with the nation’s Prime Minister Jean Castex unveiling the timetable for scrapping restrictions on Thursday, according to Le Monde.

Starting from February 2, the country will begin rolling back some of its more draconian restrictions, such as the mandatory wearing of masks in outdoor locations.

Nightclubs are also set to reopen from February 16, according to the publication’s report.

Castex noted that the government may even consider suspending its regime of vaccine passes, should the situation surrounding the coronavirus further improve within the country.

While the sudden announcements from both the French and Irish governments may represent a sea change in European attitudes towards COVID, there remain reasons to be doubtful.

For example, France is continuing to roll out its new regime of vaccine passes, the system due to come into effect from January 24.

Under the new rules, many unvaccinated in the country will be completely unable to avail of a wide variety of amenities within the country, such as bars, restaurants, and interregional public transport.

The Irish government meanwhile has a nasty habit of u-turning on promises regarding the easing of restrictions within the country.

Ireland’s regime of vaccine passes, first implemented on June 26 2021, was initially promised to only be a temporary measure, having a set expiry date of October 9.

However, the government later extended the passes, setting a new October 22 expiration date for the measure.

This date was also missed, with the measures being extended once again, but this time with no set end date.

Other European nation-states meanwhile show absolutely zero sign of loosening measures, with Austria’s parliament voting on Thursday to make vaccination against the Chinese Coronavirus mandatory for all over-18s.

Those in the state who refuse to take the jab will soon face fines of up to €3,000.

In Italy, lockdowns are also intensifying, with the ‘green pass’ keeping the unvaccinated out of public places seeing an intensification this week.


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