What closes and what stays open during France’s second Covid-19 lockdown?

France is entering another round of strict, nationwide confinement on Friday October 30th. As this lockdown is different from the last, here's a look a what we know so far about what will stay open, and what will be forced to close.

What closes and what stays open during France's second Covid-19 lockdown?
All non-essential shops will close in France as of Friday. Photo: AFP

On Friday, October 30th, most of French businesses have to close, just like they had to in March when France entered its first round of strict, nationwide lockdown.

READ ALSO: What are the rules of France's second coronavirus lockdown?

As was the case back then, there are a few exemptions to the rule. 


All schools will remain open although with compulsory masks for children over 6 years old. Universities will close, however their libraries may stay open if they respect a set limit of people allowed to enter.

Bars and restaurants

Just like in March, bars and restaurants can continue to function on a minimum delivery and/or takeaway service, but they will have to close down their in-house servings.


All non-essential shops must close.

Food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies and other shops deemed as “essential” including boulangeries, cheese mongers, butchers, wine stores and tabacs (full list on the government's website available here) can stay open. This list is the same as it was back in March, and it could change after the prime minister's speech. 

Bookshops, florists, toy shops and all other boutiques that are not on the government list must however close down. Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal later clarified that florists may keep open until Sunday evening, because of the Toussaint holiday.

French bookshops have asked the government to consider them as essential, but for now their request has not yet been granted. 

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has also asked the government to consider to keep bookshops open.



On Friday government spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed that markets, both indoor and outdoor ones would be allowed to remain open, although the wearing of face masks will remain obligatory.

Hairdressers, aestheticians and barbers

All of these, along with nail salons and other wellness institutes must close down.

Cinemas, theatres, museums and other venues

Any venue frequented by the public that is not essential will close. That means cinemas, theatres, museums will close. Libraries are also in this category and must close. The same is the case for game halls, malls and other establishments deemed non-essential.

Parks and gardens

To the huge relief of many, the country's parks and gardens will not close down during this lockdown, which they did this spring. That means good news for those living within 1km of a park or garden.


Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday evening confirmed that beaches would stay open.

Gyms and swimming pools

Gyms already had closed down in all areas on a high alert levels, but now they will have to shut their doors temporarily across the country, along with swimming pools, dance halls and all other covered sporting areas.

“Only individual activities practiced outside will be authorised. Sports halls and gyms will be closed,” Castex said.

Post offices and banks

Post offices will stay open together with banks.

“Exemptions will be granted to go to public services. The post office and bank counters will also remain open,” Castex said.

Public offices

Mairies (Town Halls), préfectures and other public offices such as pôle emploi job centres will stay open during the confinement.

Graveyards and cemeteries

These will stay open.

Factories and farms

These will stay open.

“All businesses that are not administratively closed will be able to continue to function normally. I am thinking of the service industry, design, industry, construction and agricultural activities,” the prime minister said.

Places of worship 

We understand that all places of worship such as churches and mosques will stay open but ceremonies such as masses will not be allowed to take place after the Toussaint weekend on November 1st.

Public transport

Trains, metros, buses and other public transport services will keep open during the lockdown, although Paris reduced its evening transport as of Wednesday.

Anyone taking public transport will however need to bring an attestation – permission slip – stating that their errand is essential.

Hotels, gites and campsites

Hotels “and similar establishments” will be allowed to stay open, as during the first lockdown. However, many will be forced to close anyway due to a lack of customers. They will have to close down their restaurants, although they may continue room service.


Macron said France's European borders would remain open. External borders with non-EU or Schengen area countries remain closed as they have been since March apart for essential travel.

To be reviewed in 15 days

The government will reevaluate the situation in 15 days and might loosen up restrictions if things are looking better by then.

Macron said the government was hoping to reopen shops in time for the Christmas season.

“Let's hold on with a lot of rigour for 15 days and.. hopefully we can reopen some shops especially during this pre-Christmas period that is so important,” he said.



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French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The French parliament has passed the controversial health bill which updates France's emergency provisions for Covid - and allows the return of negative Covid tests for all travellers at the border, if the health situation requires.

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The Loi sanitaire was eventually approved by the Assemblée nationale on Monday after several variations and amendments added on its passage through the Assemblée and the Senate. It was voted on and passed Tuesday, May 26th. 

The bill replaces the State of Health Emergency that has been in place since March 2020 and puts in place provision for government actions should the health situation deteriorate or a dangerous new variant of Covid emerge.

The original text had a provision for the return of the health pass at the border, but this has now been scrapped and instead the government has the right to make a negative Covid test a condition of entry for all travellers.

At present negative tests are required only for unvaccinated travellers, and the new test requirement would only be put into force if a dangerous new variant emerges.

The government will be able to implement the testing rule by decree for two months, but a further parliamentary debate would be required to extend it beyond that.

From August 1st the State of Health Emergency will be formally repealed, which means that the government no longer has the power to introduce major limits on personal freedom such as lockdowns or curfews without first having a debate in parliament.

The bill also allows for an extension of data collection required for the SI-DEP epidemic monitoring tools such as the contact tracing app Tous Anti Covid until June 30th, 2023 and Contact Covid until January 31st, 2023. 

The most controversial measure in the bill was the reinstatement of healthcare workers who were suspended for being unvaccinated – this actually only involves a couple of hundred people but medical unions and the medical regulator Haut Autorité de Santé (HAS) have both been against it.

However the bill allows for the eventual lifting of the requirement for Covid vaccination for healthcare workers, when the HAS judges it is no longer necessary and once the requirement is lifted, the suspended healthcare workers will be reinstated “immediately”.

The bill was approved on Monday evening with 184 votes to 149, the result of a joint committee that was able to harmonise the versions of the Assembly and the Senate.

The final vote passed the Senate on Tuesday.