Travel: Simon Calder discusses taking PCR tests
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Families who have booked a trip to France for October half-term have been warned they could face problems on holiday. Changes to France’s health passport system will impact children from the end of September and could create issues for holidaying families.
Since the start of August, Covid health passports have been a requirement in France.
Entry to many popular holiday venues, including restaurants, museums, leisure centres, tourist attractions requires a health passport.
Health passports in France do not currently apply to children under the age of 18.
However, new legislation which will be in place from the end of September will require children over the age of 12 to have a health passport.
Children under 12 will not be affected and will not need to show a health passport to enter public venues.
To qualify for a French health passport, everyone over 12 in a family must meet one of three strict criteria.
Everyone must have proof of being fully vaccinated or have a negative Covid test from no more than 72 hours ago.
The final way a person can qualify for a health passport in France is to have proof that they have recently recovered from Covid.
When the new rules come into force from September 30, going out for a meal on a family holiday in France could become much more complicated.
Families travelling to France from the UK for an October half-term break could face issues as the UK has only just started vaccinating vulnerable children over the age of 12.
Children who have not been double-vaccinated will have to take regular Covid tests on holidays to prove that they do not have the infection.
This could be very expensive for many families as tests for tourists enjoying a holiday in France are pricey.
The cost of a lateral flow test in France is €29 (£24) while a PCR test will set a family back €49 (£42) per child.
If families do not have health passports for every child over 12 on holiday, their only choice is to avoid entering venues that require the document.
However, as restaurants, cafes, museums and tourist attractions, including Disneyland Paris, require a passport, their options for fun days out would be very limited.
Families visiting France in October will not need health passports to enter their accommodation such as campsites or hotels.
However, individual accommodation sites in France may have their own rules requiring health documents, so family tourists are advised to check before travelling.
All communal facilities at accommodation sites, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars will require guests to provide health passports.
While the health passport is currently in place until November 15, the French Government may choose to extend the rules beyond that date.
Everyone visiting France in October for a family holiday is advised to check the current rules and regulations before travelling.
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