Shoppers to need “health pass” at large French shopping centres

Owners of shopping centres in France are assessing the implications of a new rule coming into force.

French minister of the economy Bruno Le Maire wrote in newspaper Journal du Dimanche that France’s new health pass will affect shopping centres exceeding 20,000 m2 from the beginning of August. That stance has been painted as a climb down or U turn in certain newspapers as the pass was at first set to be applicable to all centres regaredless of size.

His words on Sunday came after a day of largescale protests that took place in France against the plan led by president Emmanuel Macron to introduce a Health Pass system of allowing people over 12 years old into various public establishments such as restaurants and cafes, shopping places, hospitals, and long distance trains, cinemas, theatres, museums, theme parks and cultural centres only if they can produce requisite proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for Covid-19.

There are approximately 400 shopping centres in France that are 20,000 m2 or larger. It has been reported that the French government was due to meet on Monday to discuss the measures and their implementation.

Ahead of that, Le Maire wrote in the newspaper article: ‘I would like to reassure business leaders that we will show understanding. We are proposing that only the largest shopping centres, with a surface area of more than 20,000 square metres, will be affected. A consensus on this threshold is within reach.’

Social media channels have been abuzz with comments by various French companies involved in shopping centre management and ownership.

Arnaud Tescari, directeur center commercial Grand Littoral, posted on LinkedIn: ‘The measures announced by the Government concerning the Health Pass in shopping centres of more than 20,000 m2 seem inapplicable and potentially risk creating serious commercial and operational constraints despite all the human and financial resources that we will allocate.'

He mentioned shopping malls were busy with disinfection measures, CO2 management, dealing with queues, Covid-19 testing and some were even doubling as vaccination centres, including the Grand Littoral.

'In partnership with the City of Marseille and the Battalion of Sailors-Firefighters, the centre opened a “vaccinodrome” with a capacity of 500 to 1500 Pfizer vaccines per day on Monday' on around 1000 m2 of floorspace. ‘It will make it possible to vaccinate the merchants, service providers and customers of the center in this race for the vaccine on the Northern Territory of Marseille!’ wrote Tescari.

Mathieu Destrian, a founder and CEO of Intellinium, which provides worker safety products, spoke for those who disagree with the vaccine stance of the French government: ‘Having to be bitten with an experimental treatment to go shopping...The blackmail put in place by the government is despicable for traders and shopping malls.'

'The worst of all is that we bite healthy people with all the important risks known and that the variants will develop and become more virulent, so in the long run it will impact even more traders. In short, we are walking completely on our heads and the situation will continue to worsen to the detriment of the population and traders. There really is no one to stop this madness? We're going to leave for the whole of 2022 in lockdown, is that the goal of mass vaccination?’



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