France parliament approves bill requiring COVID-19 vaccines for access to stores and restaurants
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France parliament approves bill requiring COVID-19 vaccines for access to stores and restaurants

The French parliament approved a bill on Monday that mandates COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers and requires those seeking access to certain social venues to carry a health pass showing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a recent negative test. These restricted social venues include high contamination risk department stores and shopping centers, restaurants, locations that provide essential goods and services, and some transportation services.

The Senate passed the bill in an effort to combat COVID-19 by adopting measures that balance societal demands for partaking in various activities with the need to limit virus circulation in France, and to account for the National effort in favor of vaccination. For instance, the bill extends the health crisis management regime until December 2021, increases penalties for failure to comply with restrictions, and broadens solitary confinement measures for those who contract COVID-19.

The bill also requires those working in health and medical-social sectors to be vaccinated and imposes penalties for non-compliance. Additionally, the bill provides “compensation for damage directly attributable to compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 by the National Office for Compensation for Medical Accidents, Iatrogenic Diseases and Nosocomial Infections.”

The French Prime Minister approved the bill after the Senate approved it in a 195 to 129 vote, and the National Assembly approved it in a 156 to 60 vote.

French protesters who oppose the vaccine mandate gathered in Paris with some calling for an end of the “health dictatorship.” One protester who already received the COVID-19 vaccine said she was there because “it’s not a question of being for or against vaccines. It’s a question of freedom.”