France’s lockdown rules clarified after people fined for shopping in neighbouring town

A clarification has been issued after some people in France were wrongly fined for crossing département borders to do their shopping.

France's lockdown rules clarified after people fined for shopping in neighbouring town
Illustration photo: AFP

Several inhabitants of the communes of Gommerville, Baudreville and Mérouville in the Eure-et-Loire département in northern France, near Paris, complained about fines being wrongly handed out.

They had been travelling to Angerville – their nearest large town – for shopping or medical appointments when they were stopped and fined €135 by police, who said they were not allowed to travel to Angerville since it is in the neighbouring département of Essonne.

However after they complained, the préfecture has intervened to remind gendarmes that there is no rule that prohibits people crossing into a different département or region from the one they live in.

The Essonne préfecture has now confirmed that: “Travel for the purchase of basic necessities is authorised, including between regions. The départment's security forces have been made aware of this point.”

Under the current lockdown rules, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, but only trips out for exercise purposes have a distance limit.

If you are out for exercise, you must stay within 1km of your home and only stay out for one hour.

However the other permitted reasons to be out – including going to work, dropping children off at school, going shopping or attending a medical appointment – have no time or distance limits.

Gendarmes are permitted to exercise discretion on this point – so for example if you were 90km from home and claimed that you were out to buy bread then there would probably be questions asked.

There is also no ban on crossing into a different département or region, especially if this makes your trip out shorter. The residents of Eure-et-Loire had pointed out that Angerville is just a five minute drive but the nearest town within their own département is more like half an hour away.

For a fuller breakdown of the rules, click here.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.