The French Covid-19 health rules and guidelines still in place

There are still plenty of rules in place in France and breaking some of them will net you a €135 fine. Photo: AFP
France has lifted many of its lockdown restrictions but that doesn't mean that things are entirely normal again or that there aren't rules in place.

France first began lifting its strict two-month lockdown on May 11th in a slow and gradual process.

Since then, better-than-expected data on the health situation means that some rules have been relaxed earlier than planned.

But anyone expecting things to be completely back to normal in France will be in for a shock.

Here are the rules that you still need to follow in France or risk a fine.

READ ALSO What changes as France moves to phase 2 of lockdown

1. No big gatherings

After a lonely couple of months, meeting friends and family is now allowed again, as are some nights out, but with limits.

Gatherings of more than 5,000 people are still banned and this rule is unlikely to be relaxed until mid August at the earliest.

People who fall into vulnerable groups such as the over 65s are still advised – although not ordered – to self-isolate.

2. Masks

Masks are compulsory on all forms of public transport (including taxis) and in all indoor public spaces.

Flouting the rules could earn you a €135 fine – check out the full list of places where you need to wear a mask here.

Masks are not compulsory in the streets, but are advised, and in spaces such as beaches, parks and gardens local authorities can decide whether to make them compulsory or not so check out the signs at the place you are visiting.

Most tourist attractions also require visitors to wear a mask.

3. No kissing

The double (or sometimes treble) cheek kiss known as la bise is a key part of French culture, but the government has now told people not to do it as it risks spreading infection, with handshakes similarly banned.

On to a different type of kissing and the French government has not followed the lead of the Dutch and Nordic governments in issuing very frank sex advice, but there are some guidelines for people who wish to resume dating.

READ ALSO Sex, dating and coronavirus – what is the advice in France?

In many public spaces new markings show physical distancing guidelines. Photo: AFP

4. No getting closer than 1m

The advice for social distancing and hygiene measures in France remains unchanged – people are asked to follow basic health advice including not getting closer than 1m to other people, washing their hands frequently, using hand gel and coughing into their elbows.

5. No non-essential travel from some countries

From June 15th France has reopened its borders to travellers from within the EU, UK and Schengen zone with no more need for international travel permits or quarantines.

However for people wanting to travel from outside Europe, there are restrictions in place for any country not on the EU's 'safe' country list.

6. No football or rugby matches or concerts

Mass gatherings of more than 5,000 people are still banned, which means no concerts at bigger music venues. Sports stadiums will be allowed to reopen with crowds from July 11th – but the 5,000 person maximum limit still applies.

The French rugby and football leagues have both declared the 2019/20 season over and plan to restart the new season in September.

For amateurs, contact sports such as football and rugby are still banned although non-contact team sports are now allowed.

7. Hand gel

Gel is available in dispensers on the streets in cities and at the entrance to many shops, businesses and tourist attractions.

Business owners and the operators of tourist attractions can require people to use hand gel before entering.

In Paris, many cafés have expanded out onto the street . Photo: AFP

8. No cars (in some streets)

If you're in Paris, watch out for changes to the traffic rules as local authorities have declared many streets off-limits to cars.

Some of them have been closed to allow café terraces to expand while others – like the Rue de Rivoli – have been turned into bike lanes to encourage more people to take up cycling and stay off the crowded public transport.


  1. I hope that they allow travel from outside of Europe for family members of those who are official working and tax-paying residents of France. Macron said he wants to recruit foreign talent to work in France, so he should let us see our families. This is really hard.

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