After months filled with controversy, France has finally dropped its regime of COVID vaccination passes, as well as forced mask-wearing.
France has officially abandoned its regime of vaccine passes and forced mask-wearing as the country drops a number of COVID lockdown restrictions on Monday.
The removal of the measures marks the end of a controversial few months in French politics, which saw thousands take to the streets after the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, declared he wanted to “piss off” the nation’s unvaccinated with restrictions.
According to a report by Le Figaro, the French government has made good on a previous announcement by Prime Minister Jean Castex that a large number of measures would be imminently scrapped, including the country’s extremely controversial regime of vaccine passes.
Under the measures, those unable to prove that they either received the required number of jabs or had previously suffered from COVID within an allotted time period had their freedoms severely restricted, even if they could provide proof that they had recently tested negative for the disease.
However, from Monday, the use of these passes have been almost entirely scrapped, with evidence of sufficient jabs or recovery now only needed in order to enter locations such as hospitals and retirement homes, though even here, presenting a negative COVID test will be an accepted way of bypassing any of the vaccination requirements.
Forced mask-wearing is also being dropped from a variety of public places on Monday, with the face-coverings no longer being mandatory in schools, businesses, government buildings and shops.
France's vaccine pass system was controversial even before implementation, with the country's president — Emmanuel Macron — explicitly stating that the purpose of the new measures was to "p*ss off" the nation's unvaccinated https://t.co/lGRhYPPr8L
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 3, 2022
France is far from the first country to pull back on lockdown restrictions, with England and Denmark having previously gotten rid of practically all restrictions, while other countries, such as Ireland and Austria, have implemented dramatic relaxations of their authoritarian measures.
Unfortunately, however, not all measures in place are going.
Masks remain a requirement on public transport, and those looking to gain access to France from abroad will still need to jump through a number of hoops before being able to enter the EU member-state.
What’s more, while the mask mandate has been officially lifted in schools, discriminatory practices will remain in place, with only maskless pupils being considered close contacts in a class should one of their fellow students contract COVID-19.
However, those within France are nevertheless happy to see the worst of the measures go, with one praising the “return of freedom” in the country.
“I am very happy that the students can remove their mask in class,” said one French teacher. “Learning was more difficult with a mask…”
“And in summer, they will be less hot,” she continued. “Me too, by the way, I am delighted to no longer wear it.”
Meanwhile, a Parisien restaurant owner praised the end of the vaccine pass measures, talking about the negative effects the document had on his business.
“We know that with the vaccination pass, we lost between 10 and 20% of our clientele,” the owner said. “With its removal, we will therefore see the return of former customers who had deserted our establishment for almost a year.”
However, the man warned that some will likely not return to normal, even with the measures now gone.
“People have got into habits, they have found other ways to consume,” the restauranteur said. “…some will remain stressed by the viruses, and not only by the Covid; people understood that they could get sick anywhere, even in restaurants.”