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IN DETAIL: France’s 4-step reopening from Covid restrictions

France is operating a phased reopening of the country's bars, cafés, restaurants, shops and cultural venues alongside a gradual extension of the curfew.

IN DETAIL: France's 4-step reopening from Covid restrictions
Café terraces reopen on May 19th. Photo: Lucas BARIOULET / AFP

France has a plan for a gradual reopening of the country from the ‘partial lockdown’ in April while cafés, bars and restaurants – which were closed since October – will open up again.

Phases 1 and 2 are complete and phase 3 is due to happen at the beginning of June.

Here are the full details of each stage:

May 3rd

The end of daytime attestations (permission forms) for journeys exceeding 10km, meaning interregional travel for non-essential reasons was again allowed.

Secondary and high schools returned to in-person classes (some in smaller groups).

May 19th

The curfew was pushed back to 9pm-6am.

Non-essential shops, museums, theatres, tourist attractions and the outdoor areas of bars, cafés and terraces reopened – all with strict limits on capacity.

Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed in public spaces (up from six) but working from home continued to be the rule.

Spas also reopened for cures thermales – spa treatments prescribed by a doctor (yes, that is a thing in France and sometimes the State will even pay for it).

Health situation permitting, the final two stages happen in June.

June 9th

The curfew is pushed back further, to 11pm.

Bars, restaurants and cafés can reopen their indoor spaces, up to 50 percent capacity and with a maximum of six people per table. Bar service is not allowed and customers must provide their contact details if they are eating or drinking inside (but not if they are on the terraces).

Gyms reopen (with health rules and limits on the number of people allowed in at the same time).

Cultural or sporting events with up to 5,000 people will be allowed, but on the condition that participants provide a health pass proving that recently tested negative for Covid-19 or have been vaccinated for the virus.

Full details on France’s plans for a health pass HERE.

Salons and fairs can reopen with a limit of 5,000 people maximum, also with rules requiring a health pass upon entry.

Non-EU tourists will be allowed back into France, also with a valid health pass.

Rules on remote working will be relaxed so that 100 percent home-working is no longer recommended, the exact details of the return to the office should be negotiated between employers and employees.

June 30th

The curfew ends.

Events with up to 1,000 participants are allowed, both indoors and outdoors, this too on the condition that participants provide a health pass with a recent negative Covid test or vaccine certificate. This opens the door for festivals this summer, although some have already cancelled.

The limits on establishments receiving public – such as restaurants, bars, cinemas and museums – might disappear, depending on the local health situation. The government has previously said it favours a localised approach, allowing for more activities in areas with low levels of spread.

MAP: Where in France has the lowest Covid rates?

The same rule will decide the size of events allowed in each area, which will depend on the type of event and the health situation in the local area.

Member comments

  1. Do you know of hotels not allowed to open on weekends (including Friday nights) until June? I was planning to go for the end of May (half term in the UK), and we always sleepover on the way to Italy. Italy now is allowing people in from mid-May, but the place where I always stay, just contacted me and told me they are not allowed to open on weekends until later in June. Is that everywhere? And how about Airbnb for one night? Thanks for your comment!

      1. Not holiday, visiting family that I have not seen in nearly 2 years, and bringing my mum home for six months….

        1. Log on to the French tourist site for the area you want to stay in but I think you may be unlucky and have to sleep in your car.

          1. Actually hotels are open, it was only where we used to stay, that I guess is not worth for them. Still, not sure if we are going to make it. Thanks though.

  2. I am in St Tropez can I travel to Italy and back for the day to shop or are there still covid restrictions ?
    Thank you
    Andrew Wright

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‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.