By Mimosa Spencer
with contributions from Lily Templeton
 on July 12, 2021
The Eiffel Tower.

PARIS — Faced with rising cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled plans to require proof of vaccination against the virus to enter cultural events, cafés, restaurants and shopping malls in the country.

The vaccination of the French population is “the only path toward a return to normal life,” said the president.

Starting July 21, people over age 12 will be required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter concerts, theaters and amusement parks in the country. In August, the requirement will be extended by law to cafés, restaurants, shopping centers, hospitals and retirement homes as well as airplanes, trains and buses for long trips. The government will consider extending the requirement to other activities, depending on how the situation evolves.

Macron also announced that workers in hospitals and retirement homes will be required to get a vaccination by Sept. 15 or face sanctions, which were not specified.

“Wherever you are, close to your home or on vacation, with or without an appointment, get vaccinated! It’s the only way to protect yourselves and to protect others,” he said.

“It’s a question of individual responsibility, and collective spirit. Also, our freedom depends on it,” added the French president.

Retailers in France have expressed frustration with lockdown measures in the country, lobbying the government earlier this year to allow the reopening of stores before originally planned. The sector was struggling before the pandemic hit after several years of disruption from protests and strikes, including during holiday periods.