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PARIS, France (LifeSiteNews) — Some French supermarkets are now requiring their customers to show a COVID pass before entering.

The measure is sparking much controversy as a video showing police blocking the entrance of a supermarket to a group of people has emerged on Twitter.

Over the past few weeks, France has extended COVID pass requirements to nearly all basic venues including bars, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, trains, stadiums, and gyms. Supermarkets are the latest addition to this list. This week, some French supermarket chains have announced that they are now requiring customers to show a valid COVID pass before entering stores whose surfaces exceed 20,000 square meters (approximately 215,278 square feet), in areas where the COVID incidence rate is over 200 per 100,000 inhabitants.


Notices informing shoppers of the new regulation have been placed at the entrance of many supermarkets. One from Carrefour (see above) reads: “Welcome! From Monday August 16 onward, have your COVID passes ready for a serene shopping experience.”

There are only two ways French citizens can obtain the “sanitary pass.” One is to show proof of a “full vaccination package” which becomes valid a week after receiving both shots of a COVID-19 vaccine. The other is to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test result obtained within the last 72 hours (an extension from the previous standard of 48 hours). The cost of PCR tests is currently covered by French social security, but as of mid-October this will no longer be the case.

A fine of up to 750 euros (approx. $818 US) is applicable to people presenting a fake or fraudulent COVID pass. The fine increases to 1500 euros (approx. $1754 US) for a second offense and to 3750 euros (approx. $4384 US) for a third.

The French department (administrative region) of Gironde, which launched the use of COVID bracelets on Wednesday, is one of 24 departments where the new measure applies. A prefectorial decree released on August 13 indicated that the COVID pass would be required to access the ten biggest supermarkets in the department from Monday, August 16 to Tuesday, August 31.

The document states: “Because of the active circulation of the virus (…) COVID pass checks will be carried out at the entrance of the stores before people are allowed to move freely.”

According to Franceinfo, the 24 departments have enforced the COVID pass since August 16 for access to a total of 144 supermarkets.

The new measure is not universally popular. Some claim it has no legal basis, even according to Decree 2021-1059 of August 7, that is, the new French law on the management of the COVID crisis. This legislation specifies that the extension of the COVID pass must be carried out “with conditions guaranteeing access to essential goods and services, including, in some cases, public transport.” Those against the new measure interpret this passage in a way that would make barring access to supermarkets to people without a COVID pass illegal.

A video appeared on Twitter showing a group of people with no COVID pass gathered in front of an E. Leclerc supermarket in Pau, a city in southwestern France, demanding entry. When security guards and police barred them from entering, the protestors shouted “Discrimination” before demanding to see a document proving the legal basis of this policy. They then shouted for the manager.

In response to complaints from the many customers who deem the measure illegal, the French supermarket group Carrefour issued a statement simply inviting the unhappy customers to take their grievances to the Prefects:

“The application of the COVID pass was dictated by the prefectures. We only apply the rules that were communicated to us,” wrote Carrefour group, adding that according to the prefectorial decree, “the COVID pass is required to enter these supermarkets regardless of the types of goods intended to be purchased.”

The prefecture of Gironde explained that some supermarkets with a surface equal to or exceeding 20,000 square meters might be exempt from the rule in cases where no   smaller business is available nearby to serve people without a COVID pass. Each prefecture is responsible for studying the area around the supermarkets that are affected by this measure. This means that in supermarkets where the rule is maintained, no exemptions can be granted to anyone because it is thought that people without a COVID pass can buy their groceries elsewhere in the area. For this reason, no one without a COVID pass will be allowed access to supermarkets where the pass was made obligatory even for the purchase of essential goods.

The prefecture of Haute-Garonne also indicated that prefects are within their right to shut supermarkets that do not conform to the new law, especially if multiple violations are reported by police.

In reaction to all this, some have called for the boycott of big supermarket chains, which means they now face losing a significant part of their customer base. Small businesses, on the other hand, might experience a sudden boom, at least in areas where the new decree applies.

According to the Conseil Constitutionel, France’s highest constitutional authority, the COVID pass, implemented since August 9, is expected to apply until November 15, 2021. However, the timeframe may either be shortened or extended depending on “the necessity” as the spokesperson of the French government Gabriel Attal indicated on July 28.

“We will use the COVID pass as long as it is necessary,” said Attal

He added, “As soon as we won’t need the pass anymore, we won’t use it.”

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.