A French court in the suburbs of Paris on Tuesday suspended the requirement for anti-coronavirus health passes at large shopping centres, the third such decision in recent weeks.
A court in the Hauts-de-Seine department, south west of Paris, announced its decision to suspend the health pass rule in large shopping centres, saying that the rule created inequality between shoppers.
Judges said that shoppers without the health pass were prevented from accessing essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies.
Over the past week, the need to show a health pass at shopping centres has also been dropped in the Yvelines and Essonne departments which also border Paris, following an appeal to the administrative court.
"All our appeals are based on the same criterion of access to basic necessities," said Tarek Koraitem, the lawyer who lodged the appeals with his colleague Yoann Sibille.
“There is no political dimension to our fight. We are neither for nor against vaccination, we are simply on the side of the law.”
At the start of the month, President Emmanuel Macron’s government imposed the measure for venues of more than 20,000 square metres in areas where more than 200 people in 100,000 were infected with the disease.
Drop in clients
But mall bosses have been furious with the government order and have claimed a 25 percent drop in the number of shoppers amid the confusion of where the rules apply.
“The fall has not only been in the major metropolitan shopping centres subject to the health pass, where it has reached as much as 40 percent but also in all centres in all territories,” said Gontran Thüring of the National Council of Shopping Centres (CNCC).
The CNCC wants a nationwide ban on the pass for large stores.
Thüring added: "The confusion is total between the question of more than 20,000 square metres, the incidence rate, the places where the rate is low and where the decrees have not been withdrawn and the departments where the decrees have been suspended.”
Judges are likely to be pressed into service again within the next week after the government appealed against the suspensions.
Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal told French broadcaster RTL: "We consider that the health pass must continue to apply for the moment in the places for which it was planned.”