Casino COVID Passes Become Mandatory in France and Italy, More Countries to Follow

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COVID passes remain a point of contention in many countries but, if you’re a poker player in certain parts of Europe, you’ll now have to prove you’re vaccinated before anteing up.

covid pass
COVID health passes are now required to enter casinos in France and Italy. (Image: Europe-Consommateurs)

The requirement to show proof of vaccination is now in place at casinos across France and Italy. French casinos have been legally bound to ask for details of your medical status since the start of August. Similar rules came into effect in Italian casinos and hospitality venues on August 6.

Two shots or a negative test needed

The mandates mean customers have to show they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The definition of “fully vaccinated” means either one or two shots, depending on which vaccine a person has had. For example, Johson & Johnson’s is a one-shot vaccine. The COVID vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca require two shots.

Given that most of Europe is using the vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, the new rules mean people need two shots to enter French and Italian casinos. The caveat is that a negative COVID test can also be used. CardsChat spoke to a representative for Casino Barrière who explained that patrons can enter the casino if they prove they don’t have COVID-19.

As per the official guidelines, the following documents can be used in lieu of a COVID pass:

  • Proof of a positive RT-PCR or antigen test showing that you’ve recovered from COVID-19; the test must be at least 11 days old, but taken within the last six months
  • Proof of a negative RT-PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of visiting the casino

Casino Barrière is offering people free onsite antigen tests between 10 am and 3 am every day. Therefore, although proof of vaccination is required and preferred, there are ways to ante-up without a health pass. It’s the same with casinos in Italy where, like France, the government has made proof of vaccination of legal requirement for all indoor hospitality venues.

Facemasks are also compulsory in both countries, which is a stark contrast to the UK where all restrictions were lifted on July 19.

COVID passes becoming the norm

It’s not just casinos that are feeling the effects of government legislation. Cafes, bars, and restaurants across France and Italy can only serve people indoors if they prove their health status.

Riots broke out across France this week in response to the changes. At the heart of the protests are the issues of civil liberty and discrimination. Protestors brandishing signs saying “we don’t want your health pass” are against the idea of forced vaccinations. Moreover, they believe that those who choose not to be vaccinated will become second-class citizens now that health passes are mandatory.

Despite the civil unrest, French President Emmanual Macron remains steadfast in his decision to introduce health passes, as do many of his European counterparts. Italy has already followed suit, and other countries are preparing to introduce their own measures. Germany hasn’t introduced any federal legislation as of yet, but certain states are implementing their own restrictions.

Countries requiring COVID passports

The following jurisdictions require patrons to show proof of negative COVID tests or that they have been fully vaccinated before entering indoor hospitality venues, including casinos:

  • France
  • Italy
  • Slovenia
  • Cyprus
  • Portugal
  • Lithuania

Casino-goers in the UK don’t have to show a health pass. Nightclubs will have to implement this measure in September, but there has been no indication that casinos will have to follow this rule.

In the Czech Republic, players who want to take part in the WSOPE will have to prove they’re free of COVID before they visit King’s Resort. In line with Czech laws, the casino requires all visitors to show proof of a negative test, that they’ve recovered from COVID, or that they’ve been vaccinated.

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