The French morning ritual of coffee and croissants became more challenging on Monday, when customers were required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to sit at their favourite cafe, despite the fact that many cafes disobeyed the new laws.
To eat in a restaurant, drink in a bar, receive non-emergency care in a hospital, or travel by intercity train, a health permit is now required, as part of a government effort to contain a fourth wave of diseases.
Last month, President Emmanuel Macron issued an order with a simple message: get vaccinated. As the French faced the potential of losing some of their everyday pleasures, vaccination rates soared, sparking a surge of social protests.
“It’s simple; we downloaded an app… we scan the QR code of the clients, and if it’s genuine, they may enter; if it’s not valid, we can’t serve them,” Romain Dicrescenzo, manager of the Vrai Paris cafe in Paris’ Montmartre area, explained.
He claimed he turned away dozens of people, some of whom had forgotten their passes and others who had not been vaccinated.
Cafe and bar owners who break the rule will receive a warning, followed by a seven-day closure order if they do so again. Two more infractions might result in a year in prison.