Coronavirus COVID-19: the situation in France

Recommendations, hygienic measures taken, restrictions: read on for the French government's recommendations.

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

Visitors

Given the improvements in the health situation in France and across Europe, and in accordance with recommendations by the European Commission, France has (on June 15, and today, June 22, for people travelling from Spain) lifted all restrictions on movement at its internal European borders (land, air and sea) originally set in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

People from European countries (EU member states as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican) can therefore enter French territory without restrictions related to coronavirus.

In a reciprocal arrangement, visitors from the UK are no longer subject to restrictions, but remain subject to a two-week quarantine upon arrival.

From July 1, France will also proceed to a gradual, differentiated opening of the borders outside the Schengen area, depending on the health situation in the associated countries.

Overseas territories

  • Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Barthélémy, Saint-Martin and Réunion: non-urgent travel is permitted from today, June 22. The two-week quarantine enforcement will be lifted by July 10 at the latest, the date on which the state will declare an end to the health emergency, but a coronavirus test will be compulsory 72 hours before departure to these territories.
  • French Polynesia: all quarantine measures will be lifted from July 15 and will be opened to international tourism (all countries).
  • New Caledonia: international flights to New Caledonia continue to be suspended until July 31.

For more information: Coronavirus - Advice for Foreign Nationals in France from the French Foreign Ministry (External link)

Travel information in the event of cancellations or postponements:
• Air France: https://www.airfrance.fr/FR/en/common/page_flottante/hp/news-air-traffic-air-france.htm
• SNCF: https://www.sncf.com/en/passenger-offer/travel-by-train/coronavirus-our-response (External link)
• Thalys: https://www.thalys.com/fr/fr/situation-sanitaire-coronavirus-mesures-commerciales-exceptionnels (External link)
• Eurostar: https://www.eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/service-information/coronavirus-and-eurostar-service (External link)

Health measures in France

After a lockdown period lasting from March 17 to May 10, new measures are now coming into force in France in successive stages.

The measures in force during this stage apply to all French territories classified within the ‘green zone’, with the exception of Mayotte and French Guiana, which are classified in the ‘orange zone’.

  • Lifting of travel restrictions: it is possible to travel throughout the country, including overseas territories, without a certificate

  • Parks and gardens, beaches, lakes and other bodies of water are now open

  • Major museums and landmarks are open across the country. Wearing a mask to visit is compulsory. Leisure parks and outdoor spaces with a maximum capacity of 5,000 people are open in all zones. Likewise for all theatres and concert halls, subject to strict social distancing rules

  • Cinemas, casinos and games halls are open across the country, and summer camps can open their doors in compliance with health protocol. Racetracks and stadiums remain closed until further notice

  • Restaurants, cafés and bars are open across the territory in compliance with health protocol (wearing a mask when moving around inside the establishment, tables spaced one metre (roughly 3 feet) apart, and tables for a maximum of 10 people), except in ‘orange zones’

  • Group accommodation (tourist residences, holiday villages, campsites, etc) are open in 'green zones' in compliance with health protocol. At hotels, new health rules are offering customers reassuring reception conditions

  • Individual, team and contact sports are now permitted, with preventative measures adapted to the different categories of activities concerned. Combat sports remain prohibited at this stage, to be reviewed before the start of the new school year in September

  • Major festivals, sporting events and gatherings of over 5,000 people are suspended until at least September. Events for up to 5,000 people are permitted in open-air spaces, and in covered spaces subject to fulfilling specific health rules

  • Wearing a mask is compulsory on all public transport. Passengers should maintain the greatest possible distance between themselves and other passengers or groups with whom they are not travelling. Find out more on the SNCF (External link) and RATP (External link) websites

  • Wearing a mask is compulsory in taxis and rideshares

  • Ferries carrying over 100 passengers are prohibited from calling into ports in Corsica, and from calling into or anchoring in the internal or territorial waters of the French overseas departments and regions (Islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion and French Polynesia) as well as Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and Wallis-et-Futuna, unless special authorisation is granted by the representative of the competent State for the community in question

  • All schools reopened on June 15, except for high schools and universities which will remain closed until the summer

  • French residents are encouraged to continue to work remotely where possible, and to practise staggered commuting so as not to overcrowd public transport

  • Please note that mask-wearing can be imposed in certain areas in France at the mayors’ request

From July 11

From July 11, which marks the end of the state of health emergency in mainland France:

  • River cruises will be permitted again; in coordination with other EU countries, it may be decided to resume sea cruises between European ports for vessels whose capacity does not exceed certain limits

  • Stadiums and racetracks will reopen to the public, with a maximum capacity of 5,000 people. As with performance halls, activities involving over 1,500 people must be pre-declared so that the necessary precautions can be guaranteed

  • The maximum capacity of 5,000 people for major events, stadiums and performance halls will remain in effect until September 1

  • Nightclubs remain closed until further notice

A further review of the national health situation will be carried out in mid-July to decide whether an easing of measures will be possible in the second half of August.

From September 2020, and subject to a new assessment of the health situation, the start of the academic year may offer further flexibility, with the reopening of establishments hosting fairs, exhibitions and shows. Where possible, nightclubs will reopen and international cruises will relaunch services.

FAQs on COVID-19 from the French government (French) (External link)

What are the ‘barrier actions’ to be respected in order to limit the spread of coronavirus?

The situation is improving in France, but we must remain cautious. Follow these simple steps to protect your health and that of those around you:

  • Wash your hands very regularly
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Use and dispose of single-use tissues
  • Greet without shaking hands and avoid hugging or kissing
  • Wear a mask if you are showing symptoms
  • Wear a mask on public transport, in taxis and in shops where required.