FOR MEMBERS

What changes about life in France in May 2021?

What changes about life in France in May 2021?
Illustration photo: AFP various sources
May brings warmer weather, four public holidays and maybe even the possibility of having a drink out on a terrace, watching a movie in the cinema or attending a play at the theatre.

France begins to ease Covid restrictions

May is the month the French government will begin to reopen closed sectors and lift some Covid restrictions following a nationwide, but partial, lockdown that began on April 3rd (some areas, including Paris, implemented the restrictive measures on March 20th).

OPINION: Call it a choice or a gamble, Macron is taking a risk in reopening France

On Monday, May 3rd, France scraps its 10km rule, which limits non-essential movement, and opens for interregional travel again.

On May 19th, which is a Wednesday, more restrictions disappear, though only if government considers that the health situation permits a further easing of the anti-Covid measures. 

See the full calendar for the reopening of France HERE.

However, some areas might have to wait longer than May 19th to reopen bars, cafés, cinemas and other establishments, depending the health situation in their area. Read more about the health criteria for reopening HERE.

MAP: Where in France has the lowest Covid rates 

More groups can get vaccinated for Covid-19

From May 1st, all adults suffering from a chronic medical condition – such as hypertension, diabetes or a BMI above 30 – will get access to the vaccination programme. Details about that HERE.

READ ALSO: How to book an appointment for a Covid vaccine

On May 15th, the programme opens for all over-50s.

The rest of the adult population gets access on June 15th.

There are several public holidays

May is a month that is rich in jours fériés (public holidays), although this year two of them – May 1st and May 8th – fall on Saturdays.

There is still Ascension day (Thursday, May 13th) to look forward to, and, seeing as the Covid travel restrictions will be lifted by then, many will likely aim to do what in France is a beloved concept called faire le pont (doing the bridge).

There’s also Pentecost (Monday, May 24th), but only certain professional groups get that day off work.

2021 is a bad year for public holidays, but there are some days coming up soon. See our calendar HERE.

Gas prices increase

Gas prices, which dropped by on average roughly 4 percent in April, will rise by 1.1 percent on May 1st.

This month’s increase will be 0.3 percent for households using gas for cooking, 0.7 percent for those using it for both cooking and heating and 1.2 percent for those only using gas for heating, according to the national Commission de régulation de l’énergie (CRE).

Gas has become increasingly expensive in France since August last year, the drop in April being the exception to the rule, following a decline that began early in 2019 in response to the  ‘yellow vest’ protest movement’s demands.

The graphic below illustrates how gas prices in France have evolved since 2015. 

Graphic: CRE

Tax deadlines loom

Those declaring their taxes on paper have until May 20th to do so. The deadlines for declarations online arrive later, on May 26th for inhabitants of départements 1 to 19, as well as people who live outside France.

READ ALSO: The French tax calendar for 2021 – which taxes are due when?

The ‘winter truce’ expires

The winter truce, called la trêve hivernale is the period when landlords in France are not legally allowed to evict their tenants.

Normally it runs from November 1st to March 31st, but the government extended it to May 31st this year (as it did last year) as in response to the pandemic’s detrimental impact on socioeconomic conditions in France.

While the official date is May 31st, there will be local variations as the government has asked regional authorities to progressively phase out the measure with particular thought for vulnerable groups.

Online purchases will require double verification

From May 15th, all purchases online will require what is called “hard” verification (or double verification). In practice that means paying for something using just a bank card and a code received via text message will become impossible.

Online shoppers will have to provide proof of ID either through the form of a password, an item (mobile phone or USB key) or digital fingerprint or facial/voice recognition.

France already enforced this rule for online purchases over €100 on April 15th, before that the threshold was €250 (since March 15th) and €2,000 (since January 1st).


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