Coronavirus COVID-19: the situation in France

Consult French government recommendations to learn more about the travel and health measures in place.

For recommendations updated in real time concerning measures taken within the French territory, consult the Government / Coronavirus Info site. (External link)

Easing of restrictions

The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron announced on April 29 a "deconfinement" (easing of restrictions) in four progressive stages, from May 3 to June 30, depending on the health situation in each department of metropolitan France.

As of May 3, end of certificates and travel restrictions. European travelers can come to France again subject to receiving a negative PCR test.

reopening1

Starting May 19, the curfew will be pushed back to 9 p.m. The terraces/outdoor seating areas of bars and restaurants, museums, theaters and cinemas may reopen.

Reopening 2

Starting June 9, the curfew will be pushed back to 11 p.m. and new categories of previously closed institutions and businesses may reopen to the public, including cafes and restaurants. This date also marks the conditional resumption of events, shows and fairs for up to 5,000 people.

Reopening 3

Finally, on June 30, there will be no more curfews and no more limit to places open to the public.

Reopening 4

This entire calendar, targets and protocols will be detailed during the week of May 10 by Prime Minister Jean Castex.

Health measures in France (until May 19, 2021)

Travel within France

  • Travel from one region to another is again authorized and without requiring the mandatory certificate.
  • The curfew remains in force from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., which means that travel during this time slot is prohibited, except for compelling reasons (work, training, health, mission of general interest at the request of the administrative authority, moving residences if it cannot be deferred) and with a mandatory certificate (External link) , under penalty of a fine of € 135 and up to € 3,750 in case of recurrence. Establishments authorized to open (see below) cannot welcome the public after 7 p.m.

Openings and closures

Open, permitted to open:

  • The counters of public services and banks
  • Shops selling basic goods and services, in particular bookstores, record stores, hairdressing salons, DIY stores, plant and flower stores, chocolate makers, shoemakers, car dealerships (by appointment) and visits to real estate agencies.
  • Pharmacies
  • Open markets (only food shops or businesses offering the sale of flowers, seeds, fertilizers, seeds and plants of fruit or vegetable species remain open in closed markets).
  • Parks, gardens, forests and beaches
  • Public transport
  • Take-out and restaurant delivery services
  • Hotels have the opportunity to welcome their customers. Only the restaurant/bar areas are closed, room service is, however, authorized.
  • Collective inns, tourist residences, residential tourist villages, holiday villages and family holiday homes as well as camping and caravan sites.
  • Places of worship

The following remain closed:

  • Shopping centers of more than 10,000 m² (107639 ft²) are closed (only food stores and pharmacies in shopping centers of less than 10,000 m² are open)
  • Cinemas, theatres, performance halls and museums;
  • Restaurants, bars and other public hospitality establishments;
  • Nurseries, schools, colleges and high schools, closed from Saturday April 2 and for 3 weeks.
  • Sports halls and gymnasiums;
  • Nightclubs and casinos, saunas/steamrooms.
  • By prefectural decree, access to certain sites suitable for outdoor gatherings, such as quays, banks or squares may be prohibited depending on local circumstances.

The exhaustive list of shops and establishments open or closed can be found on the Service Public website (External link) .

Other measures and restrictions

Gatherings, meetings or activities on public roads bringing together more than six people simultaneously are prohibited.

The consumption of alcohol on public roads is now prohibited.

Wearing a mask is compulsory in enclosed public places throughout the country for anyone aged 11 and over.

The obligation to wear a mask may be extended to places deemed relevant by the prefects of each department, depending on the local health situation. Detailed information is available from the prefectures (External link) . The map and updated data on the spread of Covid-19 in France are available on the French government website (External link) .

A fine of €135 will be charged in the event of non-compliance with wearing a mask in the places concerned, up to €3,750 in the event of a repeat offence.

Wearing a mask is compulsory on public transport. Travellers should ensure that the greatest possible distance is maintained between passengers or groups of passengers not travelling together. More information is available on the SNCF (External link) and RATP (External link) websites.

Wearing a mask is compulsory in taxis and rideshares.

Consult Covid-19 FAQs on the French government website here (External link) .

Travelling to Corsica

A specific system has been put in place for travel to Corsica.

A negative RT-PCR or antigen test result from up to 72 hours before departure is mandatory for all travellers over 11 years old. The latter will have to present a 'declaration of honour' (sworn statement) to the transport company confirming that they have fulfilled the test obligation. In this document, passengers must also certify that they have no symptoms of Covid-19 and that they are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case within the 14 days before departure.

The declaration can be downloaded from the Corsica Regional Health Agency website. (External link)

An experiment is being carried out on the TousAntiCovid application (External link) on flights to and from Corsica, foreshadowing a future health pass.

Travelling to French overseas territories and departments

Any trip to overseas territories must be justified by an compelling reason:

  • personal/family
  • health
  • professional

A negative PCR test result up to 72 hours old must be shown before boarding a flight to these areas.

In line with the curfew-related travel restrictions in France, people travelling to an airport to catch a flight to the overseas territories must be able to present their plane ticket alongside a document justifying this travel.

For overseas flights: in view of the local epidemiological situation, the prefect may impose the requirement for compelling reasons for departure and arrival in the territories. The supporting documents are then checked by the airlines or the border police.

For international flights: there are restrictions decided locally by the state official or competent authority.

The Ministry of Overseas Territories encourages travellers to check the website of the prefecture or high commission for the latest restrictions in place overseas.

In addition, the Ministry of Overseas Territories invites people wishing to travel to an overseas territory to find out in advance on the website of the prefecture or the high commission on the restrictions on site in order to fight against the epidemic of Covid-19.

Trips to French Polynesia:
The President of French Polynesia announced on Thursday April 15 the gradual reopening to tourism of the islands beginning May 1. More information on the new protocol here and on the site of Tahiti Tourisme (External link)

Travellers from Guyana:

  • The pre-boarding test system is reinforced, by requiring a negative PCR test of less than 36 hours (instead of 72 hours), or a negative PCR of less than 72 hours accompanied by a negative antigen test of less than 24 hours.
  • An antigen test is systematically required on arrival to mainland France, before leaving the airport.
  • Each person coming from Guyana is subject to quarantine for 10 days, decided by prefectural decree and accompanied by restrictions on exit times from the place of isolation.

In addition, systematic antigenic tests are set up on arrival for journeys from Guyana to the West Indies.

International travel

Travelers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and India:

Flights from Brazil to metropolitan France and French Guiana are suspended until April 23, 2021.

As of April 24, 2021, the following measures apply for people coming from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and India:

• The list of reasons and categories of persons authorized to come to France is restricted, essentially, to nationals, their spouses and children, and nationals of the European Union or of a third country who have their main residence in France.
• The pre-boarding test system has been strengthened by requiring a negative PCR test less than 36 hours old (instead of 72 hours), or a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old accompanied by a negative antigen test less than 24 hours old.
• Antigen testing is made mandatory upon arrival in France, before leaving the airport.
• Each person coming from these countries is quarantined for 10 days, as decided by prefectural decree and accompanied by restrictions on the time they are allowed to leave the isolation area.
• A system of verification has been put in place before boarding and upon arrival to ensure the existence of a quarantine facility that meets health requirements. Checks on compliance with the quarantine are carried out at home by the national police or gendarmerie, and fines are reinforced in the event of non-compliance with the quarantine.

The measures regarding testing and 10-day quarantine also apply to travelers from Guyana. In addition, systematic antigen tests are implemented upon arrival for travelers from French Guiana to the Caribbean.

Travelers coming from and going to a country outside the European area :

Under the state of health emergency in France, entry into the national territory from countries other than those in the European area (European Union member states as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Holy See and Switzerland) and other than Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore is only authorized for compelling reasons.

These compelling reasons do not apply to French nationals, their spouses and children, nor to nationals of the European Union and their spouses and children who have their principal residence in France or who, in transit through France, are joining their principal residence in a country of the European Union or in the country of their nationality.

To prove one of these compelling reasons, an affidavit can be downloaded from the Ministry of the Interior website. (External link) It must be presented to the transport company at the time of boarding and be accompanied by the appropriate supporting documents.

Travelers aged eleven or over wishing to come to France from a country outside the European area (European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Holy See and Switzerland) must present the result of a biological virological screening examination (RT-PCR) concluding that there was not contamination by Covid-19, carried out less than 72 hours before the flight. They must present a declaration certifying that they agree to an honor-code system to isolate themselves for seven days once they arrive in France, then to repeat a second virological screening test (RT-PCR) at the end of this period of seven days.

Travelers coming from and going to a country of the European territory:

All categories of travelers from countries in the European area are authorized to enter metropolitan territory. The compelling reasons regime does not apply within the European area.

Entry into metropolitan territory from a country in the European area is subject to presentation of a negative result of a virological screening biological test "RT-PCR COVID" dating less than 72 hours before departure. This obligation concerns all modes of travel (arrival by road, rail, air or sea).

Road carriers, workers on the borders, and residents of border-adjacent areas within a radius of 30 km (18 miles) around their home are exempt from this obligation.

The supporting documents must be presented to the border control authorities. When it comes to air or sea travel, these documents must also be presented to the transport company when boarding.

All travelers over eleven years old must have the result of a biological virological screening test "RT-PCR COVID" dating less than 72 hours before departure (departure of the first flight in the event of travel with correspondence) which conclude that there was no contamination of COVID-19 as well as a sworn statement attesting:

  • that they do not present any symptoms of infection with COVID-19,
  • that they are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days preceding the trip,
  • for travelers over eleven years old only, that they accept that a biological virological screening test for detection of SARS-CoV-2 may be carried out on their arrival in the national territory.

Additional information on border health checks are available here (External link) .

Consult the websites of the prefectures or local authorities for more details.

Also visit the website of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (External link) .

What are the preventative actions to take to limit the spread of the virus?

There are simple actions to protect your health and the health of those around you:

  • Wash your hands very regularly;
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow;
  • Use disposable tissues and throw them away;
  • Greet others without shaking hands and avoid hugs;
  • Wear a mask if you feel ill;
  • Wear a mask in enclosed public places, on public transport, in taxis and rideshares, in shops, and in any other places deemed necessary by the prefects of each department depending on the local health situation.