The “covid passports” or “green certificates” are fully operational in the European Union. As of July 1st, the digital passport is available and mandatory for all member countries.
The certificate required to travel between the countries of the bloc presents a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19, a negative test, or proof that the disease has already been experienced. The first countries to use the system were Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Poland and the Czech Republic – which were connected to the European Union system since June 1st.
Next came France (June 23) and Norway (June 24). After that, the other remaining countries also entered the European system. This request took place without much friction among the population. The request for vaccine certificates at borders is not uncommon: several countries already required the presentation of a yellow fever vaccination certificate before the pandemic began, for example.
Protests against “covid passports” have mainly taken place in countries that are implementing the requirement within their own borders, mainly for access in closed places. These measures are being contested even by the owners of the commercial establishments involved.
Here is a list of countries that are adopting restrictions for those who do not hold a “green certificate” and which ones are considering adopting them:
The first country to demand the new certificate on its own territory was France. Since July 21, it is mandatory in all places of leisure and culture that bring together more than 50 people. From August onwards, the passport will be required for customers and employees in public places: cafes, bars and restaurants (including outdoor areas), trains, planes and buses for long distances, shopping centers and retirement homes.
To serve as an incentive for vaccination, in September the government will launch a national campaign to distribute doses to those who have not yet received them. After this period, PCR or antigen tests will be paid except by prescription. These rules apply to all people over 12 years old.
Thousands of French people throughout the country protested against these measures. Critics of the plan say the president violates individual liberties and promotes discrimination against those who do not want to be vaccinated.
The second country to announce measures (and face resistance from the population), the “green passport” will be required from August 6 in Italy, for all citizens over 12 years old in indoor restaurants, and in places where it is consumed at the table, also to attend cinema and theater performances, to participate in sporting events and competitions, to go to swimming pools, gyms, as well as to fairs, festivals, conferences, amusement parks, games rooms and participation in competitions.
The Mario Draghi government reluctant, however, to extend the restrictions further. and follow the French example. The Italian prime minister said on the 28th that he will wait for the progress of the epidemiological curve to decide on the obligation to use the passport for teachers, and on means of transport such as buses, planes and trains.
With an economy heavily dependent on tourism, protests against the government’s measures have so far been quite expressive.
In Ireland many of its famous pubs, especially those that do not serve food, have been closed since March 2020. In late July, pubs were reopened for customers who present the “green certificate”.
These measures, although well received by some, also gave rise to demonstrations in Dublin, the country’s capital. The crowd roamed the streets, asking for “freedom” against “sanitary apartheid”.
Although without much fanfare, Belgium has also started to require proof of vaccinations for events with more than 1,500 people. And, in Spain, although there is no national plan, in the Galicia region, the certificate is required for internal access to hotels and restaurants.
Germany and England, two important countries in the European scenario, have not yet announced that they will adopt passports for internal use, although the measure is being considered, depending on the progression of the epidemiological curve arising from the delta variant and adherence to vaccination programs against Covid -19 in the northern hemisphere summer.
The measures proposed by the two governments were much less restrictive, for the time being. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he plans the certificate only for nightclubs from september.
German politicians, who are preparing for national elections also in September, are hesitant to adopt a measure that may displease a part of the electorate. Even so, the possibility of closing access to closed places that may have crowding for those who do not have a “green certificate” is not discarded.