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Restaurants, festivals and crowds: What changes in France on Wednesday?

Wednesday, June 30th marks the fourth and final stage of France's plan to lift lockdown - so what changes?

Restaurants, festivals and crowds: What changes in France on Wednesday?
Photo: Ian Langsdon/AFP

On May 3rd France began a four-stage journey towards lifting lockdown and on Wednesday that journey reaches its final stage.

All stages have been contingent on the health situation but at present, despite concerns about the increase of the Delta variant, health trends in France are still going in the right direction with case numbers and hospitalisations continuing to fall.

READ ALSO Is France heading for a Delta variant surge like that in the UK?

What changes?

Some of the things that were originally scheduled for June 30th have already happened – the curfew was lifted 10 days early on June 20th and the requirement to wear masks outdoors was scrapped on June 17th, although there are still plenty of places where a mask is compulsory.

The main change on Wednesday is that decisions on a range of issues are passed back to local authorities, rather than being set by the government.

Although venues like bars, cafés, theatres and cinemas have already reopened there are limits on how many people they can accept while bars and cafés are limited to 6 per people table with a ban on bar service.

This could now change, but the final decision is down to the local authority, based on the health situation in their area.

So we could be heading back to a range of localised restrictions that mean you can have dinner or drinks with 7 friends in one area, but only 5 friends in another.

In fact on Wednesday, one local authority in south west France announced that it is delaying stage 4 until at least July 6th.

Concerts – concerts and live music events are currently only allowed if the audience is seated, but from June 30th that restriction is scrapped and standing audiences are allowed again. Events that have more than 1,000 people in the audience will require a health passport to enter, providing proof that you are either fully vaccinated, have recently recovered from Covid or have received a negative test in the past 72 hours.

Full details on how the health passport works HERE.

Festivals – the standing audience rule means that festivals can also go ahead – with a health passport – although several of France’s bigger summer festivals have already been cancelled.

Nightclubs – nightclubs stay closed for just a little longer, but reopen on July 9th. Entry will be with a health passport.

Large crowds – indoor events have previously been limited to 1,000 people, but this limit lifts on Wednesday, although entry to events of more than 1,000 people will be with a health passport.

Travel – not actually part of the French reopening plan, but on Thursday, July 1st, the EU health passport comes into effect to make travel around the Bloc easier – find out how it works HERE.

Member comments

  1. It is not the final stage! you still are forced to wear that silly mask in many places even when you are vaccinated, yet you can sit down in a restaurant without a mask, because apparently when you eat you can not get covid. A logic rule would be chewing gum or a mask, the choice is up to the individual, as is vaccination. Final stage……. It is final when I have my freedom back, don’t have to be vaccinated for certain bennefits, don’t have to walk around with a useless mask.

  2. So don’t go to places where you have to wear a mask if it’s that important to you. Bingo! Free at last! That was easy, wasn’t it?

    It’s a question of respect for others to wear them when required, but you’re the one that matters…

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France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier