Citing the possibility of a resurgence of coronavirus over the winter months, the French government is planning to extend the Health Pass until July 31, 2022.

Draft legislation seen by the AFP news agency also calls for tougher penalties against those who try to cheat the system. Up to five years in jail and fines up to 75,000 euros are part of the proposal.

Government press spokesman Gabriel Attal said at the end of a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday: ”What we want, what we are going to propose to Parliament, is to maintain for several more months, until the summer, the possibility (of) resorting to the Health Pass.”

Currently the Health Pass regulations expire on November 15. “We must give ourselves the means to have the possibility of resorting to measures, if it is necessary, to protect the French… Our wish, our hope is that it is not not the case,” he added.

The pass became compulsory on July 21 in venues hosting more than 50 people. It was then extended to hospitals except emergencies, bars and restaurants, and large shopping centres by prefectural decision and on August 30 to 1.8 million employees in contact with the public.

Recent opinion polls show declining support for the Health Pass, especially among young people. There had been hopes that the fast-improving health situation would allow more relaxation of the rules, and a suspension of the Health Pass from mid-November.

Although Monaco makes its own rules, it is likely that if the Health Pass requirement is extended in France, it will remain in place in the Principality, albeit in amended form.

FILE PHOTO: A tent for rapid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test is seen on the Champs-Elysees near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard