French police carry out 200,000 road stops to check 100km permission forms

Almost 1,000 drivers have been fined in the first week of France’s lockdown easing for travelling further than the 100 kilometres allowed, a warning to those planning on travelling for the upcoming public holiday.

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.

READ MORE: Here are the rules and new form for France's 100km travel limit

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.  

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French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With France in the middle of a new wave of Covid-19, the country's health minister has urged the public to once again wear face masks on public transport and in crowded spaces.

French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With cases on the rise again, French Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said she is “[asking] the French to put masks back on in transport” in an interview with RTL on Monday, 

For the time being, however, she stressed it was just advice, rather than an obligation, and masks have in fact been recommended on public transport since the legal requirement to wear them was lifted in May. 

However with France reporting over 50,000 daily cases of Covid-19 the government is clearly concerned by the current wave of the pandemic.

Bourguignon said that “we must protect ourselves and protect others,” adding that wearing a mask is “a civic gesture.”

She urged people to don their masks as soon as they see a crowded train or station.

READ MORE: Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

In addition to public transport, Bourguignon is also asking the French to once again mask-up in “all crowded, enclosed areas.”

Currently, masks are only required in hospitals, health centres and places that have vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. They are recommended in crowded spaces where it is impossible to practice social distancing.