There was a record spike in vaccine bookings across France today after yesterday’s announcement that people will need a «health card» to eat at restaurants or go to the movies.
More than 1.7 million people had applied for vaccination appointments by the late afternoon, most of them under the age of 35. It comes as 6,950 new infections were reported.
Prime Minister Jan Casteks announced on Twitter that 792,000 punches took place today, a new daily record, adding that «this momentum needs to grow and continue in the coming weeks.»
Yesterday, President Emmanuel Macron announced stricter measures, including mandatory vaccinations for health care workers and retirees.
But critics have accused the president of discriminating against skeptics or those who will not be fully vaccinated before «health card» rules go into effect.
Others say the government generally enforces vaccination by disguise – the French word for dictatorship, #dictature, has been popular on Twitter.
The rules will be relaxed for teens who have only been able to get their punches since mid-June.
The Pasteur Institute has warned that the delta variant is now causing the majority of the 4,000-5,000 new cases per day in France, a number that could jump to 35,000 by August without new containment measures.
From July 21, proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required to go to theaters, cinemas and theme parks.
From August, anyone wanting to go out to eat or drink, take a long-distance train or visit a shopping center will need a health card.
In a speech watched by 22 million people, Macron added that free Covid tests will end in September to encourage more vaccinations.
He also announced mandatory vaccinations for health care workers, retired domestic workers and others working with vulnerable people from September, in line with similar moves in Greece, Italy and Britain.
But movie theater and restaurant owners said they are concerned that the rules will force many patrons to turn away just as they emerge from months of pandemic lockdown.
«We are not the police. A lot of my customers haven’t been vaccinated. If they have to take a test and wait 48 hours for a beer, they won’t come,» a Paris restaurateur told AFP.
Jocelyn Boisy, head of the CGR Cinemas group, told France Info radio he was «extremely angry» about the health card, which would be difficult to implement and discourage people from going out to see a movie.
He said, «We are like lambs leading to slaughter.»
Nursing employee Sandra Barona is so strongly opposed to receiving a Covid-19 injection that she said she might quit her job after President Macron ordered all health workers to be vaccinated.
Barona, who cares for the elderly in a nursing home southwest of Paris, has expressed little faith in vaccines.
It feels like it was developed too hastily – even though regulators around the world have said time and time again that speed won’t compromise safety.
But she said she particularly resented the crushing of her «individual liberties».
«Lector profesional. Jugador galardonado. Aficionado a los zombis. Adicto a las redes sociales. Experto en tocino. Erudito en Internet»