Curfew-breaking party at Paris police station causes uproar in France

An investigation has been launched by authorities in France after officers and staff at a Paris areas police station were caught on video dancing and partying until 3am, without a face mask in sight, despite the nationwide curfew and strict social distancing rules.

Curfew-breaking party at Paris police station causes uproar in France
French police officers. Illustration photo: AFP

A video of police officers dancing the Macarena inside a station in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers in Seine-Saint-Denis has caused a stink in France, which is currently subject to a strict night time curfew.

The regional police authority has launched an investigation into the event, which occurred in a public office, post curfew hours and without respect for general Covid-19 health rules such as mask-wearing and social distancing.


“An administrative investigation is being carried out and administrative sanctions will be taken against the participants,” the Paris police préfecture said in a tweet.


But the video, first released by the site Loopsider, quickly made a buzz on Twitter, with many denouncing the double standards of those meant to ensure general compliance with the nation's health rules.

France's nationwide curfew begins at 6pm and effectively bans any kind of party or gathering after that time. The police have had the task of ensuring the strict rules are enforced.

Thousands of fines have been handed out to those who found to have flouted the rules, including to the organisers of illegal parties.

While it is not illegal work after the curfew enters into effect, anyone staying later than 6pm needs a valid attestation form from their employer to show police in the event of checks.

The occasion for the party was a pot de départ, the French term for a “leaving drink”, according to Loopsider.

When asked if it was possible to organise leaving parties, a police officer at the station in question told Loopsider “it's forbidden.”

“We don't do moments of conviviality,” they said, adding that the employees practiced a strict respect of the general health recommendations at all times, just like the rest of the general population.

“Just because we're a police station it doesn't mean that there's a difference between us and the rest of the population,” they said.

However many viewers of the video will not believe the sincerity of that statement.

Summing up much of the reaction on Twitter one viewer said: “The problem is not that they party, the problem is that they are the ones enforcing the rules, banning others from doing the same by issuing fines. There is selfishness here.”

Another added: “What an example to set! They have no more credibility.”


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France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.