The Cannes Film Festival has become a little less stressful for those who are fully vaccinated.
New health passes are slowly being introduced that effectively eliminate the need for an RT-PCR saliva test every other day. Passes bordered in purple are available for those who are fully vaccinated (meaning there must be two weeks since the second vaccination or one month since the single-dose vaccine) from the Gare Maritime, which is between the Grand Palace and the RT-PCR test center.
An attendant – who reviewed vaccination records and dates extremely thoroughly before issuing passes – confirmed Variety what many observed over the past week: that there were “many problems” with the PCR testing system, which would not provide reliable results within the promised six-hour window, and for which the windows of desired test was not always available due to high demand. This has added another layer of panic for those rushing for screenings at the Grand Palais, or attending meetings and press conferences within the building.
The attendant said the festival quietly began making passes available from Wednesday, though he wisely advises delegates to voluntarily continue with saliva tests “for their own safety.”
There is still some confusion on the part of Cannes security at the various entrances to the Palais on where to obtain the health passes, but the paper document – which includes a barcode and can be attached to the lanyard – seems now be widely accepted.
Variety contacted the festival for more details on the rollout of health passes.
The introduction of the passes, while practical, poses some questions about how Cannes will monitor cases of COVID-19 in the future if PCR tests are no longer absolutely necessary to enter the Grand Palais.
The festival moved quickly on Friday to rule out rumors of an increase in COVID-19 cases on the ground. Secretary General François Desrousseaux declared Variety that there is no COVID-19 cluster in Cannes.
“Out of several thousand people tested here daily, there are an average of three cases per day,” said Desrousseaux, who has drawn up protocols with festival organizers, producers and regional authorities in Cannes.
However, French President Emmanuel Macron is due to deliver a televised speech on Monday and it is believed he could introduce tighter restrictions as the Delta variant appears to become the predominant strain in France as of this weekend.