France Emerges From Lockdown; What You Now Can And Can’t Do

France enters its period of déconfinement starting Monday 11 May. For the next three weeks, as sectors of society gradually reopen, the French government will evaluate how soon to completely reopen (with a new announcement on June 1). Here’s an overview of what you can and can’t do in France from May 11 onwards for the next three weeks.

France has been divided into green and red zones

Green zones are where current restrictions will be lifted and red zones are where heavier restrictions will remain in place. Classification has been based on the number of new people being diagnosed with COVID-19, the capacity in intensive care units and testing practises in place.

Paris remains more on lockdown than not, with non-essential travel still limited.

People can now move up to 100 km without a form

Under lockdown, French people have needed to download a time-stamped derogation before leaving the house, clearly labelled with the reason for leaving. Sporting or shopping activities have been limited to a 1 km (0.6 miles) radius and to a time limit of 1 hour.

From Monday 11 May, people can now move freely, without a derogation, for distances up to 100 km (62 miles). Trips further than this will need a derogation and can only be for essential family or professional reasons.

Cafés and bars remain closed but shops and markets now open

A decision will be made in three weeks on June 1 to decide if public eating and drinking spaces can open. Many local coffee shops have partially opened, however, by serving customers through small windows.

All other shops can now open, provided they conform to the strict measures put in place (hand sanitizer, plastic barriers between staff and customers, a maximum number of people in stores at any one time and keeping to strict social distancing measurements). Shopkeepers have the right to refuse customers if they are not wearing masks.

In green zones, parks and gardens can reopen, as can small museums, libraries and forests.

Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people and beaches remain closed for the time being. (There are suggestions that the French Open may take place behind closed doors in September 2020). Gyms, holiday camps, large museums, cinemas and theatres also remain shut. Weddings are still not allowed.

Some schools are slowly reopening from May 11 onwards

Nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools are allowed to open and in green zones, from May 18, les collèges can open (for children aged 11-14). As reported in Le Monde, attendance is on a voluntary basis and decided by parents.

In many cases, the classes are now divided into two and children attend either a morning or afternoon session, with no lunchtime food provision–older children must wear masks. Les Lycées (for the last 3 years of school, aged 15-18) will remain closed.

President Macron announced last week that at least 30,000 children, whose parents were key workers and health professionals helping to fight COVID-19, had been attending school during the pandemic.

Public transport is open from May 11 onwards

Outside of Paris, public transport can reopen if only one in two seats is used.

Parisians are still required to work from home where possible and public transport in rush hours is reserved only for people who have derogations from employers saying that the travel is essential or for family reasons. Whilst 70% of Paris’ metro network will be operational from May 11 onwards, each carriage will only accommodate 32 passengers.

Masks are obligatory for everyone and non-wearers will be fined €135 ($150).

Flights are virtually non-existent outside of E.U. and Schengen zone

There are virtually no international flights coming in and out of France. Most of France’s citizens who were trapped outside of the country as it went into lockdown (130,000 people on March 22) have now been repatriated according the The Local. Any flights taking place are between the E.U., the Schengen zone and the U.K. and to take them, you must have une attestation de déplacement internationale (an international travel certificate).

And even if you come from one of these countries, you must still fulfil a very strict requirement, such as being a health worker involved in COVID-19 work, have permanent residency or be a cross-border worker. As Eurotunnel have pointed out, that means, “no holidays or social visits”.

As reported in Les Echos, there is no quarantine from people arriving into France from E.U. countries, the Schengen zone and the U.K.

A lifting on non-European travel will be reviewed on May 15th and will be a Europe-wide decision, likely to run until June 15th, with all non E.U. and Schengen arrivals having to undergo a two-week quarantine.

The French were discouraged from booking summer holidays in other countries by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. The government has extended its state of emergency until July 24.




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