Coronavirus COVID-19: the situation in France

Consult French government recommendations to learn more about 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, no requirement for certificates and end of travel restrictions. European travelers can come to France again subject to receiving a negative PCR test.

reopening1

From May 19, the curfew will be pushed back to 9 p.m. The terraces/outdoor seating areas of bars and restaurants can reopen up to 50% of their capacity. Tables are limited to 6 guests. Theatres, cinemas, museums, monuments as well as concert venues with a seated audience can reopen to the public by following an adapted protocol and by respecting the attendance gauges (8 sqm per visitor and maximum 800 spectators).

Reopening 2

From 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. (50% of the capacity, tables of 6 people maximum). Restrictions will also be relaxed in shops, museums, monuments, theaters and cinemas. This date also marks the conditional resumption of events, shows and fairs for up to 5,000 people and the implementation of the health pass. (External link)

Reopening 3

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

Reopening 4

More details on the health protocols and conditions of the establishments:
Holidays in France this summer: what you need to know

Health measures in France (until June 9, 2021)

Travel within France

The curfew is in force from 9 p.m to 6 a.m, which implies that travel during this time is prohibited, except for compelling reasons (work, training, health, mission of general interest at the request of the administrative authority, moving that cannot be postponed) and with a mandatory certificate (External link) , under penalty of a fine of € 135 and up to € 3750 in case of recurrence. Establishments authorized to open (see below) cannot welcome the public after 9 p.m.

Openings and closures

Open, permitted to open:
• Public services and bank counters
• Shops
• Pharmacies
• Markets
• Parks, gardens, forests and beaches
• Public transportation
• Take-out and restaurant delivery services
• Hotels
• Collective inns, tourist residences, residential tourist villages, holiday villages and family holiday homes as well as camping and caravan sites
• Places of worship
• The terraces/outdoor areas of restaurants and cafes
• Museums, theaters, cinemas, monuments as well as concert venues with seated public
• Thermal establishments
• Casinos.

The following remain closed:

  • Sports halls and gyms
  • Indoor areas of cafés and restaurants

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 10 people simultaneously are prohibited.

The consumption of alcohol on public roads is prohibited.

Wearing a mask is compulsory in enclosed public places throughout the country for anyone aged 11 and over (and from six years old at school)

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 (External link) website and will be required at the time of boarding by the transport company.

An experiment is being carried out on the TousAntiCovid application (External link) on flights to and from Corsica, foreshadowing a future health pass (External link) https://www.gouvernement.fr/pass-sanitaire-toutes-les-reponses-a-vos-questions (External link)

Travelling to French overseas territories and departments

Specific measures are taken for overseas territories.

In line with the relaxation of sanitary measures in France, and based on an analysis of the epidemiological situation and the progress of vaccination in each overseas territory, the Government has decided, after consultation, to reduce the number of compelling reasons for travel as well as the quarantine measures required of travelers wishing to travel between the overseas territories and France.

From overseas to France :

• Saint Pierre and Miquelon: removal of compelling reasons since May 19.
• Saint Barthélémy: removal of compelling reasons on June 1st.
• Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique: removal of compelling reasons on June 9.
• Reunion Island, Mayotte, French Polynesia: removal of compelling reasons on June 9 for vaccinated persons.
• French Guiana, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna: the compelling reasons remain in force.

From France to overseas :

• Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Saint Barthelemy: removal of compelling reasons on May 19.
• Saint-Martin, Guadeloupe, Martinique: removal of compelling reasons on June 9.
• Reunion, Mayotte, French Polynesia: removal of compelling reasons on June 9 for vaccinated persons.
• French Guiana, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna: compelling reasons remain in effect.

For air travel to overseas destinations, PCR testing within 72 hours of boarding is still required.

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 ground 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 of tourism on 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

As of June 9, the flow of travelers between France and foreign countries will be reopened according to modalities that vary according to the health situation in third countries and the vaccination of travelers. A classification of countries has been defined on the basis of health indicators. The lists of countries are likely to be adapted according to the evolution of their epidemic situation (lists to be found on the government website (External link) ).

• “Green” countries: no active circulation of the virus, no variants of concern identified. European Union, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand and Singapore. Vaccinated travelers from these countries can enter the country without a PCR test. Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative PCR or antigenic test less than 72 hours old.

• “Orange” countries: active circulation of the virus in controlled proportions, without dissemination of variants of concern. All countries, except "green" and "red" countries. Vaccinated travelers from these countries must have a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old or a negative antigenic PCR test less than 48 hours old. Unvaccinated travelers must provide compelling reasons.

• “Red” countries: active virus circulation, presence of variants of concern. Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Turkey and Uruguay. Travelers from these countries, whether or not they have been vaccinated, must have a compelling reason to enter French territory.

Find the details of the country rankings as well as details on how to access them on the government website.

Travelers from Argentina, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay (until June 9):

The following measures apply for people from these countries:

• 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 from the United Kingdom (until June 9):

As of midnight on May 31, health measures have been reinforced for travelers to France from the United Kingdom, in view of the development of the so-called "Indian variant":
• compelling reasons are required for foreign nationals outside the European Union who are not residents in France and who are traveling to France from the United Kingdom;
• a PCR or antigenic test less than 48 hours old is required for all persons entering France from the UK;
• upon arrival, travelers must observe a 7-day isolation period. For the time being, given the low incidence of Covid in the UK, the routine home testing scheme is not applied to them.

Travelers coming from and going to a country outside the European area (until June 9):

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 (until May 31 at midnight) 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 (until June 9):

All categories of travelers from countries in the European area are authorized to enter the 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.