- Title: 'It's Absurdistan,' Parisian says as police check COVID passes in cafes
- Date: 9th August 2021
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (AUGUST 9, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF POLICE OFFICERS WALKING PAST BARS IN THE 11TH DISTRICT POLICE OFFICER ON PATROL DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF JUSTINE MANGION TELLING CUSTOMERS (French): "Hello Sir, Madame. We will check your health pass, please. I also need your I.D." CUSTOMER SHOWING PASS VIA MOBILE PHONE TO MANGION / MANGION SAYING (French): "With an I.D. please." MANGION CHECKING HEALTH PASS OF CUSTOMER, DIDIER, AND SAYING (French): "Thank you. Have a good day, sir." DIDIER AND COMPANION SITTING AT TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARISIAN, DIDIER, SAYING: "I really don't know what this is. We are sitting at an outdoor table, there's two of us, no one around. It's digital 'Absurdistan' already pushed quite far." CUSTOMER, CORENTIN, SHOWING PASS AND POLICE OFFICERS CHECKING IT (SOUNDBITE) (French) BUSINESS OPERATOR FROM RENNES, CORENTIN, SAYING: "As customers, I think that once we have the health pass, it's quite easy, we only have to show it, it works very fast. But for the restaurateurs, for people who are in situations where people are a bit hesitant about this, I think it's a shame that this hampers them down. They've already refused clients a little while ago, there will be losses. They'd already been closed for I don't know how long. We are business operators ourselves in another city, we will have to refuse clients. This could put businesses in a difficult situation. I think it will not help in relaunching the local economy." POLICE OFFICERS PATROLLING IN STREET OF BARS AND OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS MANGION CHECKING HEALTH PASS OF A CUSTOMER IN CAFE POLICE BAND AROUND OFFICER'S ARM MANGION CHECKING HEALTH PASS OF ANOTHER CUSTOMER IN CAFE (SOUNDBITE) French) DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF OF PARIS 11TH DISTRICT, JUSTINE MANGION, SAYING: "Today, we're conducting an operation that is more about teaching and prevention. Our objective is to sort of tour the area where there are the biggest crowds and parties, bars, restaurants, etc., to explain to the bar managers the new rules that come into effect today concerning the checks of health passes." CUSTOMER TALKING TO BAR WORKER AND ENTERING BAR (SOUNDBITE) French) DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF OF PARIS 11TH DISTRICT, JUSTINE MANGION, SAYING: "The 11th district (of Paris) is an area that is very festive, where there are a lot of people in the streets. We can't let ourselves check every person who will be on a restaurant terrace. But by doing more random controls on a daily basis that will spread the message of strictness, we are hoping to convince a maximum number of people to go and get vaccinated to be able to have a valid health pass." POLICE TALKING TO CUSTOMER IN CAFE POLICE OFFICERS PATROLLING AT CAFE TERRACE / POLICE OFFICER HEARD SPEAKING ON RADIO (French): "The situation calmed down when we arrived." POLICE PATROLLING ALONG STREET OF BARS POLICE PATROLLING ON MAIN AVENUE
- Embargoed: 23rd August 2021 15:16
- Keywords: COVID France Paris checks digital health pass police restaurants
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Europe,Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001EPK5Y6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Police on Monday (August 9) carried out checks of health passes in the 11th district of Paris, popular for its bars and restaurants, as a new law on the COVID-19 pass takes effect.
A health pass now has to be shown to eat in a restaurant, drink in a bar, access non-emergency treatment in a hospital, or travel on an intercity train, part of a government drive to contain a fourth wave of infections.
A Parisian sitting in a cafe, who was asked to show his health pass, said the checks resembled a "digital 'Absurdistan' already pushed quite far."
President Emmanuel Macron unveiled the edict last month with a clear message: get vaccinated. Vaccination rates jumped as the French faced the prospect of being denied some daily pleasures, but it also spurred a wave of street protests.
Cafe and bar owners caught flouting the rule face a warning followed by a seven-day closure order on the second infraction. Two further contraventions could lead to a year's jail time.
Another cafe customer in the 11th district, Corentin, expressed concern for business owners who may have to turn down patrons who are unable to present a health pass.
Of the 10 restaurant and cafe owners Reuters spoke to in Paris on Monday, half said they refused to run the health pass checks. Police would take a lenient view initially, the Interior Ministry said.
"By doing more random controls on a daily basis that will spread the message strictness, we are hoping to convince a maximum number of people to go and get vaccinated to be able to have a valid health pass," deputy police chief of the 11th district, Justine Mangion, said.
Health Ministry data showed nine in every 10 COVID patients admitted to intensive care in late July had not been vaccinated. A majority of French support the health pass, surveys show.
But opponents, who protested on the streets the past weekends, say the pass impinges on their freedom and discriminates against those who do not want the COVID shot.
The legislation governing the health pass requirements will remain in place until mid-November. It also demands the mandatory vaccination of health workers.
(Production: Antony Paone, Michaela Cabrera)
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