As France’s 66 million inhabitants prepare for the long weekend coming up due to the Ascension Day public holiday falling on Thursday, May 21st, the country’s Junior Transport Minister has sent out a warning to anyone planning a short getaway.
“There will be checks,” Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told BFM TV, adding that since the country’s strict lockdown measures were eased on Monday May 11th to allow non-essential travel of up to 100km from people’s homes, more than 200,000 road checks had so far been carried out by police.
“This gave rise to 950 fines, not to annoy French citizens, but to ensure compliance with the rules that prevent the spread of the virus.”
Under the new rules, journeys of more than 100km can only be taken for “imperative” reasons, such as family emergencies and vital work reasons.
The question on many people’s minds in France is whether this travel limit will be in place when the summer holidays come along, to which France’s transport secretary had the following to say: “We will have an important meeting at the end of May to plan for the month of June, the resumption of new activities, then more generally the summer holidays, in the hope that things will continue to improve.”
Djebarri also stated that 100 percent of TGV train services will run by the end of June “if travel can return to normal” depending on how the health crisis develops.
“I spoke with (SNCF Chairman) Jean-Pierre Farandou and he told me that the rate of train bookings is similar to that of last year,” he told BFM TV.
“The French want to travel.”
Djebarri, who is also an aircraft pilot, added that Paris Orly airport could reopen on June 26th or 28th, but this is yet to be confirmed.