COVID passes set to stay as Europe heads for winter

 Friday, October 29, 2021 



There have been protests and complaints of restricted freedom, but much of Europe is now using COVID passports to enter bars, restaurants, cinemas and museums.

Italy also requires a COVID pass to enter a workplace and Austria is about to follow suit.

Although England does not require a pass, from Friday, the UK’s digital COVID pass will be accepted across the European Union.

Our correspondents around Europe have been getting to grips with the rules.

Italy has adopted arguably the most rigid COVID pass rules in Europe, writes Mark Lowen in Rome. The Green Pass QR code from at least one COVID vaccination, negative test or proof of recovery has to be shown for everything from indoor restaurants to cinemas, gyms and intercity trains.

It is also required by all employees in the public and private sectors when they turn up for work. Passes are checked regularly and my family, visiting from the UK, were amazed how rigidly COVID rules, including masks, are respected here.

In France it is surprising how quickly the passe sanitaire has become part of daily life, writes Hugh Schofield in Paris. Few think twice now before presenting their mobile phones at bars, cinemas and museums, or on TGV trains and at airports. It is a normalised ritual.

It’s a different story in the Netherlands, writes Anna Holligan. In all the beach bars, restaurants and city cafes she has visited since the pass was introduced on 25 September, she has not once been asked to flash her pass. The rules state anyone aged 13 and over has to show a COVID entry pass, although not for shops or taking part in sports events.

Denmark actually phased out its coronapas last month, writes Adrienne Murray in Copenhagen. It was first in Europe to adopt a pass in April but has now downgraded COVID-19 to a no longer “socially critical” disease.

In Switzerland, COVID passes are obligatory and the rules strictly applied, says Imogen Foulkes in Bern.
And now that COVID tests aren’t free anymore, going out for a beer gets pretty expensive. The vaccination rate is stagnating at around 62% and the government wants more people to get the jab.

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