France Enters Phase 3 Of Lockdown; Borders Open But These Rules Still Must Be Followed

On Monday, France enters phase 3 of lockdown or déconfinement. EU borders and all restaurants, cafés and bars opened on June 15 but from today, cinemas, sports halls, holiday parks and casinos can reopen too, meaning much of the French economy is back open for business.

With some international borders expected to be lifted gradually from July 1 with EU countries, there are still a few key rules to remember:

1) Respect social distancing rules of 1 metre (3 feet)–people are asked to not get closer than 1 metre to each other.

2) Masks are obligatory–on all public transport, including trains, trams and buses. Shopping malls require a mask for entry but you can now try on clothes. Many shops require masks for entry and ask that you sanitize your hands on entry and the same will be true of watching films at the cinema, where empty seats will be used to enforce social distancing.

3) No Kissing–this is obvious, but difficult for a country used to greeting people, including work colleagues, with la bise, a kiss on each cheek. Kissing is now allowed on French film sets so long as both actors have been tested for coronavirus beforehand.

4) Public gatherings must be less than 10 people–with the exception of protests or funerals.

5) No non-essential travel outside EU borders–unlike other countries, France never officially closed its borders during the pandemic but anyone travelling into the country has to show une attestation de déplacement internationale (an international travel certificate). And the only way to get one has been to be a diplomat, a cross border worker doing essential work or someone French returning to their primary residence.

6) Work from home, where possible–the government still recommends that people work from home, where it is still possible and many French employees are still in their houses for much of the time.

7) No large gatherings, in concerts or sport stadiums. However, it is hoped that when France’s State of Health Emergency comes to an end on 11 July that stadiums will be reopened, but for under 5,000 people.

As reported in Les Echos, with its EU partners, the French government might also allow cruises to set sail but just between European ports. A decision has yet to be made on nightclubs or international cruises.

As of Monday 22 June, every child is obliged to go to school, whereas during the first two lockdown phases, school attendance was optional. As reported in The Local, it was necessary for schools to provide 4 square metres for each pupil (43 square feet) and a maximum of 15 pupils per class, but from Monday, this is no longer necessary. Masks, however, are still obligatory.

Protesting–commonly seen as a national pastime–is now allowed again. Black Lives Matter protests began before they should have been legally possible but they were allowed because the Interior Minister thought the strength of feeling meant they should go ahead. From Monday, protests of 5,000 people or less will be allowed. Funerals now have no limit.




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