France ‘enters new world’ as country emerges from strict lockdown

France on Monday emerged from its tight lockdown with shops and businesses reopening. Many restrictions will remain in place nationwide for several more weeks. France's economy minister said the country had entered "a new world"

France 'enters new world' as country emerges from strict lockdown
Commuters wearing face masks are seen at a metro station, on May 11, 2020 in Paris, as the lockdown introduced two months ago to fight the spread of the Covid-19 disease caused by the novel coronaviru

France and Belgium joining the list of european countries easing measures on Monday, amid fears of a second coronavirus wave.

Hair salons, clothes shops, florists and bookshops opened again in France on Monday while many primary schools reopened for teachers and will welcome back small numbers of pupils on Tuesday, depending on space. 

“We are entering a new world, one that we'll have to learn to juggle the economy, work and the circulation of the virus. For this challenge to succeed it depends on each and every one of us,” said the country's economy minister Bruno Lemaire.

Le Maire said business leaders, politicians and each citizen had a role to play to get the country back on track after eight weeks of lockdown that began on March 17th.

France was returning to “working condition” on Monday said Le Maire, but warned that strict and safe sanitary conditions must be adhered too.

The end of lockdown comes as France recorded its lowest daily death toll for coronavirus in several weeks with just 70 additional deaths on Sunday.

The health ministry said “our efforts during the lockdown worked and saved thousands of lives.”

“They need to succeed so that this new phase succeeds,” it added, warning that the epidemic is still “active and evolving”.

To end the lockdown the government has divided France into green and red areas for Monday's easing of the lockdown, with Paris and three other regions classified as red seeing a more limited relaxation.

Traffic on the péripherique ring road around Paris on Monday May 11th. AFP


The main differences for the French this week will be schools reopening and people no longer having to write or download certificates to show police to justify trips outside.

However such certificates will still be needed for trips of over 100 kilometres (60 miles) from home. Bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas remain closed until at least June.

More rigorous measures are still being kept in Paris due to the active circulation of the virus, with parks and large shopping centres to remain closed.

In a special measure for the French capital to ensure public transport is not overcrowded, commuters will have to carry a certificate from their employer if they travel during peak hours in the morning and evening.

Wearing masks is to be obligatory on public transport and state railway operator SNCF is readying for passengers to return to its stations with a myriad of circles and arrows being placed on the ground of concourses to ensure people observe social distancing.

France's transport minister on Monday said only around 5 percent of passengers were not wearing masks on public transport.

“That shows the advice has been respected,” said Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.

Member comments

  1. I have just read in UK paper that Uk citizens will be allowed to holiday in France without being quarantined on there return to the UK. But I ask will they be governed by the 100km rules, will they be compelled to wear masks, and comply with all the other restrictions we have to continue abiding by?

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.