Bars, cafés and restaurants in France ‘could reopen in June’ – but only in green zones

France's bars, cafés and restaurants - shuttered since March under the country's strict lockdown - could be on course to reopen in June, but only in parts of the country.

Bars, cafés and restaurants in France 'could reopen in June' - but only in green zones
Photo: AFP

When presenting the government's €18bn rescue package for the country's tourist industry on Thursday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also had some good news for those who have been missing their café terrace fix.

“Reopening as of June 2nd can be envisaged in green départments, if the epidemic situation does not deteriorate,” Philippe said.

All cafés, bars and restaurants have been closed since March 15th, two days before the country's strict lockdown began.

Although some restrictions in France were lifted on May 11th, the cafés remained closed until at least the beginning of phase 2 of the lifting of lockdown – set to start on June 2nd.

A final date for when the sector could get back in business be would be set “around the week of May 25th,” the PM said.

But while this sounds like good news for some, the country's red zones with higher coronavirus levels will likely have to remain shut for some time beyond June 2nd.

READ ALSO The map of red and green départements of France for lifting lockdown

Cafés in Paris will stay closed for some time. Photo: AFP

In Paris, which is a red zone, bar and restaurant owners are wanting anxiously for news for when they can open their doors again.

“It’s been awful. We have no visibility on a reopening date and under what conditions we’ll be allowed to reopen,” one Paris bar manager told The Local.

“We’ve ran our funds dry. Will customers even come back? One thing is for sure we can never allow our industry to be this fragile ever again,” said the manager, who asked not to be named.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has laid out possible measures for reopening bars including closing some streets to traffic to allow the city's famously cramped café terraces to expand and ensure that social distancing measures can be respected.

However as with all aspects of the plan to lift lockdown, everything depends on the health situation and if coronavirus cases spike again the loosening of restrictions could be halted or reversed.


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France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules will relax in France as the country ends compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes will take effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that will begin in February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.