The Russia/Ukraine conflict has resulted in an exodus of refugees from Ukraine on a level which has not been experienced in Europe since World War II. Currently, close to three million refugees have fled Ukraine and some experts anticipate this number will increase to four to seven million. Countries are taking differing approaches to opening their borders to Ukrainian refugees.
On February 21, Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that all of England’s COVID-19 regulations and restrictions would be revoked in coming weeks. Shortly thereafter, countries across the globe began to follow suit.
- In the United Kingdom, mandatory vaccination regulations for employees in England’s health and social care settings that were due to be implemented April 1, 2022, will be revoked by March 15, 2022.
- In Austria, the country’s universal COVID-19 vaccination mandate will be suspended. The measure was signed into law on February 4, but compliance checks were not scheduled to start until March 15.
On January 21, 2022, France’s Constitutional Council approved a law requiring individuals who are 16 or older to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (a “vaccine pass”) before entering certain public places, such as restaurants, bars, and stores. The law also permits business owners to check a customer’s vaccine pass against the customer’s identification documents where they have good reason to suspect that the vaccine pass being shown does not genuinely belong to the customer presenting it.
Currently, individuals in France are required to present proof of vaccination or of a negative test result to enter public venues. Under the new law, which will take effect on January 24, 2021, a negative test result will no longer be accepted.
As jurisdictions across the world grapple with the effects of the more infectious delta variant, many governments either have taken or are considering more restrictive measures to reduce infection rates and community spread of COVID-19. As we have previously discussed, France is a country that has taken a tougher stance on encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations and has even required employees in certain sectors and industries, in accordance with Article 12, I, of the Law n°2021-1040, to receive a vaccination. The French government also recently introduced the Pass Sanitaire (i.e., health pass). Now, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) has provided guidance on employers’ obligations regarding collecting health pass information and COVID-19 vaccination data.
As jurisdictions across the world grapple with the effects of the more infectious delta variant, many governments either have taken or are considering more restrictive measures to reduce infection rates and community spread of COVID-19. To encourage individuals to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, countries have developed creative initiatives, including by offering lottery tickets for cash prizes and tickets to soccer (i.e., football) matches, entering raffles to win cars, offering soused herring and providing barbeque sausage sandwiches. Despite these incentives and other forms of encouragement, vaccine hesitancy lingers. As such, some countries in which the “carrot” (i.e., reward) approach has not enticed enough individuals to receive a vaccination now have resorted to the “stick” (i.e., punishment) approach to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination rates. France is an example of a country that has taken a tougher stance on encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.