France has extended the use of its “pass sanitaire” health (or sanitary) pass to cover theme parks, meaning that Disneyland Paris will now be legally obliged to check visitors are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a recent negative test.
From 21st July 2021 the nation’s Covid health pass is now a requirement for anyone over the age of 18 wishing to enter a cinema, theatre, museum, theme park or cultural centre. From 30th August 2021, this will also apply to those aged 12 to 17.
The “pass sanitaire” can confirm either a person’s full vaccination status or a recent negative test.
The extension of the scheme is partly a bid to push more French people to get vaccinated. Currently just over half the adult population of France has had a first dose, with take-up slower than Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
There’s no indication yet how long the “pass sanitaire” will be a requirement for entry at these venues, so in booking a trip to Disneyland Paris it is best to assume it will apply.
What does Disneyland Paris say?
The resort has updated its Health & Safety Measures page with details of the pass including an FAQ on who’s eligible and what’s required.
It also posted a series of helpful slides to its social media channels, as seen below.
What does this mean for UK visitors?
The French Consulate in London has confirmed that the NHS COVID Pass will be accepted as proof of vaccination. This can be obtained not from the “test and trace” Bluetooth pinging app but from the main NHS app, by logging in to view your patient data.
Alternatively, logging into the NHS website will also provide the option to download and print a PDF certificate of vaccination, which is definitely a good idea too.
If you can’t access these, an NHS paper certificate of vaccination (not the card handed out after a jab), best obtained by calling 119 at least five days after a second dose, will also be accepted.
This new requirement comes alongside existing regulations for entry to France itself, which include that over-18s who are not fully vaccinated are currently only permitted to travel for essential reasons. This excludes, for now, many younger travellers who won’t quite yet have had the chance of receiving a second dose based on the vaccine availability and eight-week interval.
Remember that for the most common AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, a person is only considered fully vaccinated after two weeks have passed from the second dose, although for this French scheme that delay appears to now be counted as 7 days.
The pass requirement opens up a tricky gap for those aged 12 to 17, a key audience for Disneyland Paris, who at least in the UK don’t yet have the opportunity of a vaccination and would instead (from 30th August) have to provide a negative test result for entry.
Note also, if you missed the news, that travellers from France to the UK are still currently required to quarantine for up to 10 days. This rule change by British government ministers was announced at incredibly late notice and has forced many to cancel their imminent planned holidays (and trips to see family) in France, despite the country having far lower case numbers than the UK.
Clearly the situation will continue to develop, but the Health Pass seems a welcome intervention to keep people safe and get public life back to a more consistent “normal”.