Coronavirus in France

France has been severely touched by the coronavirus epidemic. The French government took strict measures in order to limit the spread of the virus in the population and has announced on March 16, 2020 a two weeks lock-down which has been prolonged until the 11th of May. Since social life gradually resumes its course.

Update: June 2020

Main rules during the post-confinement period

Since June 2nd, 2020 France has started to gradually ease the lockdown. Depending on the color situation of the region on the governmental map  (orange for territories under particular vigilance), the lock down will be eased more quickly than in other regions 

  • Commuting to work is possible even though employers are encouraged to allow remote working.
  • Public transport is operating again, even though not to the fullest capacity yet, social distancing and barrier gestures are obligatory. The wearing of a mask is compulsory in public transport, trains, taxis, VTC and carpooling vehicles (in the absence of physical protection separating the driver from the passenger) and planes. In most cities masks are not only obligatory on the bus, tram, trains but also on their platforms.
  • In buses and tramways with several doors, the front door is locked, except when the vehicle configuration makes it possible to respect the safety distance. Passengers are invited to enter the back of the buses and trams and a row is left free behind the driver to avoid contact; You should respect the barrier measures - in particular the obligation to stay at least one meter from other travelers. It is no longer possible to buy your ticket on board.
  • Long distance trips are now allowed throughout the country.
  • Shopping is possible again and not only for first necessities. The majority of shops are open since May 11th, 2020 respecting health protection measures: the number of customers in the stores is limited; the physical distance of 1 meter between each person must be respected; the personnel must be protected; wearing a mask is recommended for both staff and customers when physical distance is not possible. A merchant may impose the wearing of the mask in his store.
  • Shopping malls of less than 70.000m² can open their doors again while respecting health protection measures.
  • Markets are open as well, under the same conditions, unless the “préfet” forbids the market.
  • Restaurants and bars are authorised to open since June 2nd, 2020 in “green zones”. In “orange zones”, only the terraces of restaurants and bars can reopen. Health protection measures must be applied: the wearing of masks is mandatory for staff, for clients moving indoors, a 1-meter separation between tables and a limit of ten people per table has to be respected.
  • Gatherings in parks and public areas are allowed in orange zone regions. The limitation of gatherings to ten persons is maintained.

As of June 2nd, 2020 social life will gradually resume its course. However :

  • Gyms and swimming pools have opened on the 2nd June, 2020 in “green zones”. In “orange zones” users will have to wait until 22nd June, 2020. Collective sports and contact sports stay forbidden;
  • Beaches and lakes are authorised to reopen throughout France, unless the “préfet” forbids the access;
  • Museums, monuments, cinemas, theaters, concert halls will open on 22nd June, 2020 throughout France. Since 2nd June, 2020, those in the “green zones” are authorised to open;
  • Events of more than 5000 participants (sporting, cultural, etc.) cannot be held before September;
  • the current professional sports season including football will not resume;
  • Marriages can be celebrated again but strict sanitary conditions need to be respected; not more than 10 persons for a civil marriage at the “marie”. In churches specific rules of physical distancing, obligation to wear a mask etc. apply as well.

You will find on the website of the government in French all you need to know on living in France in times of coronavirus. You will also find on this page the necessary documentation to fill in.

Cross-border travel within the EU after June 2nd, 2020?

Travels are still suspended but French residents abroad are allowed to come back to France and must get in touch with the French consulate or embassy in the country were they are currently staying ; More information on Coronavirus: your rights as travelers.

As regards the internal borders of the European Union, on June 15th 2020, France should open its borders again to European travelers. In principle, no quarantine will be imposed on EU travelers. However the situation is reassessed regularly based on the current sanitary situation.

Currently controls are still in place. Cross-border workers can circulate, if they have proof of address and employment.

The transport of goods and merchandises are to be continued.

Concerning the external borders of the EU, no official date has been communicated yet.

Confined in France, you want to go home?

Since March 17, 2020 the borders at the entrance to the EU and Schengen have been closed and flights have been suspended. If you are European citizen, contact the embassies and consulates of the country in which you are currently staying to organize your return.

The European Union helps EU Member States and their citizens who are affected by travel restrictions and have to return to their country of origin. The European Emergency Response Coordination Center, Ceru, operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and has already helped repatriate many EU citizens.

Due to the confinement in France, may I ask for a refund of public transport passes?

Most of the French public transport systems have announced partial refunds of subscriptions. Check at your local transport company what the rules are, and what procedures you have to undertake. Many will make websites available to collect the requests for refund.

Concerning the Paris transport system and Navigo Passes, you will find more information in our article. 

Concerning Strasburg’s CTS, a refund for the months of April is foreseen. More information in French on the website of Strasbourg transport services.

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