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HEALTH

Paris’ Orly airport set to reopen as airlines restart flights

Orly airport south of Paris is to reopen on Friday after shutting down on March 31st amid the coronavirus pandemic, but with just a fraction of its normal flights.

Paris' Orly airport set to reopen as airlines restart flights
Staff at Orly airport prepare for the reopening on Friday. Photo: AFP

A plane to Porto, Portugal is scheduled to take off at 6am, and around 25 destinations are to be served via 70 takeoffs and landings, compared with 600 a day before the virus crisis grounded aircraft worldwide.

Airlines including Air France, Transavia, easyJet, Vueling and Air Caraïbes account for most of the traffic at Orly, flying to the Caribbean, Reunion Island, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Iceland and Croatia, among others.

On Friday, officials expect around 8,000 passengers to pass through Orly's four terminals, less than 10 percent of the daily average of around 90,000.

Increased traffic in July will depend on whether Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia reopen their borders.

“We are facing an extremely brutal and long crisis, and we are bracing for a resumption that will be somewhat long, if not extremely long,” Alain Battisti, head of France's national federation of commercial aviation (Fnam) said on Tuesday.

France reopened its borders to travel from within Europe on June 15th and most European countries have done likewise, although some – including the UK – have extra border restrictions including quarantines and health checks.

READ ALSO What are the rules on quarantine for travellers to France?

 

All non-essential travel into France from outside Europe is still banned.

The European Commission is working on a plan to reopen the bloc's external borders from July 1st – but only for countries where the virus situation is under control. A  leaked document suggested that travellers from the USA, India and Russia could remain banned.

The final decision on borders stays with each country, but France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has previously said that the country supports the EU's proposal.

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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