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What changes in France on Tuesday as lockdown is eased

There are big changes in France on December 15th as lockdown is eased - but plenty of restrictions remain in place. Here's what is possible from Tuesday.

What changes in France on Tuesday as lockdown is eased
The rules change in France on Tuesday, meaning inter-regional travel is now allowed. Photo: AFP

The plan announced by French Prime Minister Jean Castex last week is a slightly tweaked version of the original plan, reflecting the fact that case numbers in France remain higher than the government had hoped.

So although some restrictions have been scrapped, others remain in place and some new ones have been added.

Here's what changes:

No more attestations

This is the big one. Previously, every trip outside the home required both an essential reason and an attestation permission form, but from Tuesday this restriction is lifted and people are allowed out for any reason, for as long as they like. Filling out the form before leaving home is no longer necessary.

Socialising

Trips out to visit friends and family have not been counted as 'essential' reasons during lockdown, but from Tuesday this is again possible, although the government is advising people to keep gatherings to a minimum. Six adults is the recommended maximum for gatherings, although this is a recommendation and not a rule.

Travelling

Both international travel and travel to different regions of France are again possible for non-essential reasons, so tourists and second home owners can again visit France, and people can travel to see relatives and friends in other parts of the country or other countries.

There are no restrictions on entering France if you are coming from within the EU, the Schengen zone or (until January 1st) the UK, but plenty of countries have restrictions in place for people arriving from France – full details HERE.

READ ALSO Who will be able to travel to France over Christmas?

Sport for children

Under 18s will can again take part in sports in indoor areas, although sports centres and gyms for adults will remain closed until January.

Nursing home visits

Visits to the country's Ehpad nursing homes will again be possible, albeit with a strict health and testing protocol in place.

But as some restrictions lift, a new one is added.

Curfew

The curfew covers the whole of mainland France and runs from 8pm and 6am and everyone must stay at home between these hours.

There are only a few reasons to be out during curfew, and these are stricter than the rules for leaving home during lockdown. Shopping and exercise are not accepted reasons for being out (although dog owners can still take their pet out for a late-night walk and comfort break).

People who are travelling to France and arrive at or after 8pm are allowed to travel onwards to their final destination, but should keep tickets handy in case of a police check.

Everyone who is out during curfew hours needs an attestation, this is not the same form as the one required during lockdown, but a new form which is available HERE from December 15th. It is also available via the TousAntiCovid app.

The curfew will be lifted on December 24th, but not on December 31st.

READ ALSO This is how France's nationwide curfew will operate

There are also some rules that remain in place

Cinemas/theatres/museums

Cultural centres had been due to reopen on December 15th, but this has now been delayed in light of the health situation. These will now stay closed until at least January 7th.

Bars/restaurants/cafés

There was never any intention to reopen these in time for Christmas and they stay closed until at least January 20th.

Ski resorts

Ski resorts also stay closed until January. Although it will be possible to travel to resorts in the Alps or Pyrenees, ski lifts and other infrastructure will remain closed, largely ruling out skiiing holidays.

Masks

The mask rules remain the same – masks are compulsory in all indoor public spaces in France, while many areas also have local rules in place mandating masks in the street and other outdoor public places as well – these include all of the big cities and around 400 smaller towns and communes.

READ ALSO Nine graphs to understand the Covid-19 situation in France

The standard health recommendations remain in place, physical distancing, hand-washing and avoiding kissing or handshakes, particularly with people in high-risk groups such as the elderly.

Anyone caught breaking the rules still in place faces a €135 fine.

 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

France launches ski safety campaign after rising number of accidents

Injuries and even deaths while skiing in France have seen a sharp rise in recent years - leading the French government to create a new ski safety campaign.

France launches ski safety campaign after rising number of accidents

The early part of the ski season in France was dominated by headlines over the lack of snow in popular mountain resorts – but, now that climatic conditions have started to improve for skiers and there is at least some snow, the winter sports season is in gearing up to hit full swing.

READ ALSO Snow latest: Have France’s ski resorts reopened?

Heading into the winter holiday season – French schools in ‘Zone A’ break up for two weeks on February 4th, followed on February 11th by schools in ‘Zone B’, while schools in Zone C finish for the vacation on February 18th – the government has launched an awareness campaign highlighting skiing good practice and how to avoid accidents.

READ ALSO What can I do if I’ve booked a French skiing holiday and there’s no snow?

The Pratiquer l’hiver campaign has advice, posters and videos highlighting safety on the slopes, in an effort to reduce the number of accidents on France’s mountains – where, every year, between 42,000 and 51,000 people have to be rescued, according to the Système National d’Observation de la Sécurité en Montagne (SNOSM)

The campaign, with information in a number of languages including English, covers:

  • on-piste and off-piste safety advice (signalling, avalanche risks, freestyle areas, snowshoes, ski touring, etc.);
  • Help and instructions for children explained in a fun and educational way (educational games, games of the 7 families to be cut out, safety quizzes, advice sheets for sledding, skiing, prevention clips, etc.);
  • physical preparation (warm up before exercise, prepare your muscles and stretch well, also how to adapt the choice of pistes and the speed to your physical condition);
  • equipment and safety (helmet, goggles, sunscreen, etc.);
  • marking and signalling on the slopes (opening and marking of green, blue, red and black slopes, off-piste).

There are 220 ski resorts in France, the world’s second largest ski area, covering more than 26,500 hectares of land, across 30 departements.

In the 2021/22 ski season, totalling 53.9 million ‘ski days’, according to SNOSM, emergency services made 49,622 interventions in France’s ski areas, and 45,985 victims were treated for injuries.

The results show an increase in the number of interventions by ski safety services – a rise of 13 percent compared to the average of the five years prior to the pandemic – and the number of injured, up 8 percent. 

A few incidents on the slopes made the headlines at the time, including the five-year-old British girl who died after an adult skier crashed into her in the Alpine resort of Flaine, and the French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who died at the age of 37 after an accident while skiing in La Rosière, Savoie.

In total, 12 people died as a result of skiing incidents in France in the 2021/22 ski season. Three died following collisions between skiers, two after hitting an obstacle, and seven as a result of a fall or solo injuries. SNOSM also reported “a significant number of non-traumatic deaths, mostly due to cardiac problems” on France’s ski slopes.

The injuries due to solo falls – which represent 95 percent of all injuries –  on the ski slopes increased 2 percent compared to winter 2018/2019. Collisions between users fell, however (4.8 percent against . 5.6 percent) as did collisions between skiers and other people, and obstacles (0.7 percent compared to 0.85 percent).

The number of fatalities caused by avalanches, however, is at a historic low over the period 2011 to 2021, in part because of a relative lack of snow – leading to a drop in the number of avalanches and fewer people going off-piste, while awareness campaigns are hitting their mark, according to SNOSM.

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