Holiday chaos for Britons heading to France as Macron’s new vaccine passports come in

Thousands of Britons holidaying in France face chaos under Emmanuel Macron‘s Covid passport rules which come into force today.

Many are expected to go to France after it came off the UK’s ‘amber plus’ travel list yesterday, meaning fully-vaccinated travellers will no longer need to quarantine on return.

But they will have to prove they are fully vaccinated for everything in France – from a trip up the Eiffel Tower to a glass of wine on an outdoor terrace.

Proof of being double-jabbed, in the form of digital QR codes handed out by the NHS, must be uploaded to the French coronavirus smartphone app.

The Mail failed to get NHS QR codes recognised at venues across France on several occasions over the past week but the authorities have insisted that things will work smoothly from today.

However there was uncertainty for those who do not have a smartphone – 20 per cent of the UK population – with the French foreign ministry unable to clarify how the system would work for those without the digital code.

Thousands of Britons heading to France on holiday will have to prove they are fully vaccinated for everything in France – from a trip up the Eiffel Tower to a glass of wine on an outdoor terrace - after Emmanuel Macron brought in a new Covid passport rule

Thousands of Britons heading to France on holiday will have to prove they are fully vaccinated for everything in France – from a trip up the Eiffel Tower to a glass of wine on an outdoor terrace - after Emmanuel Macron brought in a new Covid passport rule

Thousands of Britons heading to France on holiday will have to prove they are fully vaccinated for everything in France – from a trip up the Eiffel Tower to a glass of wine on an outdoor terrace – after Emmanuel Macron brought in a new Covid passport rule

Proof of being double-jabbed, in the form of digital QR codes handed out by the NHS, must be uploaded to the French coronavirus smartphone app

Proof of being double-jabbed, in the form of digital QR codes handed out by the NHS, must be uploaded to the French coronavirus smartphone app

Proof of being double-jabbed, in the form of digital QR codes handed out by the NHS, must be uploaded to the French coronavirus smartphone app

NHS letters are accepted as proof of vaccination at the border prior to entering the country but there was no provision for using them to access tourist hotspots, cafes or restaurants.

French ambassador Catherine Colonna said ‘any specific query should be addressed to the French consulate’ in the UK, which did not pick up the phone yesterday. 

But businesses are worried the move will kill the cafe culture this summer, just weeks after the country emerged from a brutal lockdown. Thousands of restaurants last night said they would defy the rules.

A survey by French trade magazine L’echommerces found that 40 per cent of bar and restaurant owners will simply ignore it.

Businesses worry it will kill the cafe culture this summer, just weeks after the country emerged from a brutal lockdown. Thousands of restaurants last night said they would defy the rules

Businesses worry it will kill the cafe culture this summer, just weeks after the country emerged from a brutal lockdown. Thousands of restaurants last night said they would defy the rules

Businesses worry it will kill the cafe culture this summer, just weeks after the country emerged from a brutal lockdown. Thousands of restaurants last night said they would defy the rules

In Italy, the public have accepted the need to use Covid-19 passports to access restaurants, bars, gyms and theatres. Pictured: A customer uses their 'green pass' at the entrance of a gym in Rome

In Italy, the public have accepted the need to use Covid-19 passports to access restaurants, bars, gyms and theatres. Pictured: A customer uses their 'green pass' at the entrance of a gym in Rome

In Italy, the public have accepted the need to use Covid-19 passports to access restaurants, bars, gyms and theatres. Pictured: A customer uses their ‘green pass’ at the entrance of a gym in Rome

And one in Brittany vowed he would rather go to jail than ask British holidaymakers to comply.

Jean-Jacques Samoy, 60, who owns La Java Cafe in St Malo, was defiant as he said: ‘I have put 45,000 euros (£38,000) to one side in a blocked account to pay any fines and have packed my suitcase in case I go to prison.

‘The British are always welcome but I won’t be asking for your vaccine passports. It is not our job to play the role of health police. It is completely crazy.’

Mr Samoy, who is fully vaccinated, said Mr Macron was ‘using the pandemic as a pretext to treat the French people like children’. He added: ‘[It is] as if we have no common sense or intelligence anymore.’

Dozens of restaurateurs across the region have also signed a petition vowing to ignore the new law. 

President Macron's law has been blasted as overbearing and authoritarian, with more than 200,000 people taking to streets across France on Saturday in the fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations

President Macron's law has been blasted as overbearing and authoritarian, with more than 200,000 people taking to streets across France on Saturday in the fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations

President Macron’s law has been blasted as overbearing and authoritarian, with more than 200,000 people taking to streets across France on Saturday in the fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations

Anti-vax protesters have complained the use of Covid-19 passports is an imposition on their freedom and civil liberties

Anti-vax protesters have complained the use of Covid-19 passports is an imposition on their freedom and civil liberties

Anti-vax protesters have complained the use of Covid-19 passports is an imposition on their freedom and civil liberties 

Yet similar proposals to implement Covid-19 passports to help slow the spread of the disease in France have faced major opposition

Yet similar proposals to implement Covid-19 passports to help slow the spread of the disease in France have faced major opposition

Yet similar proposals to implement Covid-19 passports to help slow the spread of the disease in France have faced major opposition 

‘A red line has been crossed with the vaccine passport,’ the owners of nearly 50 venues wrote on Facebook. ‘If we don’t react, it will destroy the very soul of our cafes.’

Fines for customers who refuse to show the ‘health pass’ start at 135 euros (£115), rising to as much as 3,750 euros (£3,200) or even six months in prison for repeat offences. The same punishment applies for those using fakes or certificates belonging to someone else.

Businesses can be hit with fines of 1,500 euros (£1,300) or temporary closure orders if they fail to check the so-called ‘health passes’. This rises to penalties of 9,000 euros (£7,600) and a year in prison on the third offence.

SAGE estimates the R rate — which shows how quickly the virus is spreading — is between 0.8 and 1.1. It means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 11 other people

SAGE estimates the R rate — which shows how quickly the virus is spreading — is between 0.8 and 1.1. It means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 11 other people

SAGE estimates the R rate — which shows how quickly the virus is spreading — is between 0.8 and 1.1. It means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 11 other people

Tourist testing costs probed by watchdog

The competition watchdog has launched an investigation into ‘rip-off’ coronavirus tests for holidaymakers.

It will advise ministers on how best to ensure travellers can access affordable and reliable tests amid fury over prices.

Families face paying hundreds of pounds extra to travel abroad this summer, and the Mail has championed calls for the Government to drive down costs.

Campaigners want VAT to be axed and for ministers to allow travellers returning from green and amber countries to take cheaper lateral flow tests when they return to the UK.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has asked the CMA to ‘assess what action might be taken to ensure that consumers do not face unnecessarily high costs or other poor provision’.

In a letter to CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli, Mr Javid added: ‘I would be grateful if you would provide me with advice on what further steps we might take to stamp out any exploitative behaviour in this market and would also urge you to take action to prevent such exploitation where you can under your existing powers.’

While it has powers to intervene directly in markets, the CMA expects it will be more effective to provide advice to the Government. A formal investigation that could lead to criminal action would take far longer. 

Last night Whitehall sources indicated there were still no plans to remove VAT on the tests.

The Government has repeatedly said it is working with the travel industry and testing providers to see how to ‘further reduce the cost of travel for the public’.

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President Macron’s law has also been blasted as overbearing and authoritarian, with more than 200,000 people taking to streets across France on Saturday in the fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations. 

In one of several protests planned in Paris yesterday, hundreds gathered at Pont de Neuilly metro station on the outskirts for a march to the centre, chanting ‘freedom!’ and ‘no to the health pass’.

Although many of the protesters are among those refusing to be vaccinated, some have taken the jabs but object to the principle of the health pass. 

The protest came as Italy prepares to introduce it’s own ‘green pass’ system, where those who have at least one vaccine dose or have recovered from Covid-19 or who have tested negative within the past 48 hours will be allowed to access gyms and restaurants. 

The system, which will start on Friday, will be mandatory for everyone over the age of 12. 

France started its vaccine passport rollout on July 21 for nightclubs, sporting venues, museums, theatres and cinemas.

But from today the rules are being extended to a new range of venues – including large shopping centres, long-distance trains and domestic flights.

Officials believe the measures will encourage more people to get the jabbed – with just under half of the population fully-vaccinated.

Macron urged citizens to remember the third part of France’s motto, ‘fraternité’, calling on them to ‘accept these collective rules… and get vaccinated’.

‘It’s about citizenship. Freedom only exists if the freedom of everyone is protected… it’s worth nothing if by exercising our freedom we contaminate our brother, neighbour, friend, parents, or someone we have come across at an event. Then freedom becomes irresponsibility.’

But far-Left presidential hopeful Jean-Luc Melenchon, who plans to run against Mr Macron in next year’s election, called the rules ‘absurd’. He accused Mr Macron of trampling on people’s freedoms. 

The Le Monde newspaper said Macron’s decision to show no patience with the protesters had its risks, even for a leader who appears to thrive in confrontation with the street as during the 2018-2019 ‘yellow vest’ protests.

‘It is a perilous strategy. Playing with the street is to play with fire,’ it said. 

Scramble to escape British summer! Airlines slash prices to Malta, Croatia and Germany among dozens of green list jaunts in last-minute getaway deals 

ByKatie Feehan For Mailonline 

Airlines are slashing their prices to popular holiday destinations in a boost for lockdown-weary Brits hoping to snap up last-minute getaways.

Countries that have moved up the Government’s traffic light system have seen their fares drop in a bid to encourage holiday-seekers to head abroad this summer.

Seven new destinations were added to the UK’s green list as of 4am this morning – Germany, Austria, Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania – and all have seen a drop in price for flights.

However, it should be noted that Austria requires tourists to quarantine for 10 days while Norway is not currently permitting tourists to enter the country. 

According to price comparison site Skyscanner, tickets direct to Frankfurt, in Germany, can be bought for as little as £21 from next Monday while you can head to Cologne from £33.

Holidaymakers can fly to the Austrian capital Vienna from £27 or head to Riga, in Latvia, from £26.

Meanwhile, Cluj-Napoca, in Romania, which is considered the unofficial capital of the Transylvanian region, will only set you back £18 for a flight there from mid August.

Brits can fly to German from as little as £21 from mid August as airlines slash their fares in a bid to encourage more passengers to head abroad this summer. Pictured: Frankfurt in Germany

Brits can fly to German from as little as £21 from mid August as airlines slash their fares in a bid to encourage more passengers to head abroad this summer. Pictured: Frankfurt in Germany

Brits can fly to German from as little as £21 from mid August as airlines slash their fares in a bid to encourage more passengers to head abroad this summer. Pictured: Frankfurt in Germany

Seven countries were added to the Government's green list as of 4am this morning including Germany, Romania, Latvia, Austria and Norway. Pictured: The city of Cluj Napoca in Romania

Seven countries were added to the Government's green list as of 4am this morning including Germany, Romania, Latvia, Austria and Norway. Pictured: The city of Cluj Napoca in Romania

Seven countries were added to the Government’s green list as of 4am this morning including Germany, Romania, Latvia, Austria and Norway. Pictured: The city of Cluj Napoca in Romania

But it’s not just the new arrivals to the green list that have seen a drop in price. Popular tourist destinations including Croatia and Malta, which were both already green listed, have also seen fares slashed.

Skyscanner is showing flights from £93 for a one-way ticket to Split or £143 to Dubrovnik while flights to Malta are going from as little as £55.

Destinations on the amber list – where unvaccinated travellers must self-isolate while double jabbed Brits must provide a negative test – have also seen fares drop as airlines try and boost passenger numbers.

This was especially true of countries that had been rumoured to move to the amber plus list but have remained amber including Portugal and Greece.

Passengers can pick up flights to Faro in Portugal from £9 from mid August or to Porto from £24.

You can also find fares from as little as £22 to Greece’s Santorini or £13 to Santander in Spain.

And those looking to take advantage of the relaxed rules regarding travel to amber-listed France could head to popular spots from as little as £9.

From 4am this morning, arrivals from France who are fully vaccinated with a jab authorised and administered in the UK, US or Europe do not need to quarantine.

Fares to the port city of Brest on the west coast will only set you back £9 while tickets to more popular destinations such as Marseille or Nice are going at £24 and £115 respectively.

You can also fly to the amber listed Czech Republic from as little as £9 from mid August while popular destinations to the Canary or Balearic islands such as Tenerife or Ibiza will cost you around £24. 

From mid August, holidaymakers can pick up fares from £27 and head to Latvian capital Riga

From mid August, holidaymakers can pick up fares from £27 and head to Latvian capital Riga

From mid August, holidaymakers can pick up fares from £27 and head to Latvian capital Riga

Pictured: View of Bratislava's historic downtown with St. Martin's Cathedral in Slovakia

Pictured: View of Bratislava's historic downtown with St. Martin's Cathedral in Slovakia

Pictured: View of Bratislava’s historic downtown with St. Martin’s Cathedral in Slovakia

Gavin Harris of Skyscanner told the Telegraph travel firms were using low prices to help build confidence as people started to travel again and said prices were forecast to remain low.

He added: ‘This extremely competitive marketplace is fantastic news for travellers looking for good value trips.’

According to the Telegraph, return tickets to popular Spanish resorts of Alicante, Tenerife and Malaga are all currently selling at more than a 10 per cent discount compared with before the pandemic.

Rory Boland of consumer group Which?, said airlines had a lot of spare capacity as the number of flights remained dramatically reduced which means they can react quickly to any government announcements.

He said: ‘They add flights, making more seats available, and that pushes prices down.

Countries already on the green list have seen fares drop including Croatia. Pictured: Dubrovnik

Countries already on the green list have seen fares drop including Croatia. Pictured: Dubrovnik

Countries already on the green list have seen fares drop including Croatia. Pictured: Dubrovnik

Passengers can fly to Malta from £55 in mid August. Pictured: St Paul's Cathedral in Valletta

Passengers can fly to Malta from £55 in mid August. Pictured: St Paul's Cathedral in Valletta

Passengers can fly to Malta from £55 in mid August. Pictured: St Paul’s Cathedral in Valletta

‘Immediately when changes are announced you can see price increases because capacity has not had time to shift, but they tend to fall within a couple of days.

‘Anyone booking a holiday to a green-list country should wait for a few days after travel restrictions have changed to get the cheapest flights.’

It comes as bookings for foreign holidays soared by up to 250 per cent after the Government revealed rules on travelling to France would be relaxed while the green list was expanded.

From 4am this morning, arrivals from France who are fully vaccinated with a jab authorised and administered in the UK, US or Europe do not need to quarantine.

Meanwhile, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia all moved to the green list, and Bahrain, India, Qatar and United Arab Emirates are now listed as Amber.

The updates caused a surge in holiday searches, with Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent agent, reporting a 193 per cent surge in bookings between Thursday and Friday.

British Airways reported a 260 per cent week-on-week increase in searches for holidays to the south of France as changes to restrictions were made (Pictured: Cote d'Azur, south of France)

British Airways reported a 260 per cent week-on-week increase in searches for holidays to the south of France as changes to restrictions were made (Pictured: Cote d'Azur, south of France)

British Airways reported a 260 per cent week-on-week increase in searches for holidays to the south of France as changes to restrictions were made (Pictured: Cote d’Azur, south of France)

One of the biggest winners from the travel list updates was Jet2, which saw a 250 per cent spike in bookings to amber and green list destinations yesterday compared to the day before.

According to Skyscanner, searches for holidays to Dubai were up 213 per cent, making it the second-most popular search on the comparison website after Spain – which saw a 42% rise in bookings compared with a week ago. 

The company said its top destinations are currently Malaga, Palma, Alicante, Tenerife, all in Spain, and then Dubai.   

Meanwhile British Airways reported a 260 per cent week-on-week increase in searches for holidays to the south of France.

And Brittany Ferries said it took 1,400 bookings to France on Thursday, up from 568 a day earlier, while Eurostar said bookings from London to Paris doubled over the same period. 

It follows a spat between the UK and its neighbour to the south after the British Government made it the only amber list destination from which fully jabbed travellers had to quarantine upon return.

While travel companies have praised the latest updates, some industry sources said it was ‘too little too late.’

Link hienalouca.com

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