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COVID-19

Calendar: When do France’s new Covid measures come into force?

The French government has announced a number of new measures to fight against Covid-19. Here are the dates you need to know.

Vaccine is drawn into a syringe. The French Health Minister has introduced new measures around booster doses, masks and schools. We have broken down the key dates.
France is introducing new measures around booster doses, masks and schools. We have broken down the key dates. (Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP)

While appearing to rule out a lockdown or curfew over Christmas, the French government has introduced a raft of new measures to fight against the fifth wave, which is spreading at a “lightning” pace. 

Some will come into force in the coming days, others in the coming months. Here are the key dates you need to know: 

Friday, November 26th – Mandatory mask wearing 

Mask wearing will become mandatory in all indoor spaces – even those which ask for a valid health pass as a condition of entry.

READ ALSO Where to wear a face mask in France

Local préfectures are also able to make masks obligatory in outdoor markets and other open air events. The Health Minister emphasised that entry to Christmas markets will be conditional on possession of a valid health pass and the wearing of masks. 

Saturday, November 27th – Vaccine booster doses for over 18s

Everyone aged over 18 in France will become eligible for a booster dose, once five months has passed since their second dose. 

Some groups are already eligible for boosters including: over 65s; people with pre-existing medical conditions that put them at higher risk; health workers and domestic carers. 

READ ALSO France sets 7 month limit on Covid health pass and opens up booster jabs to all

If you have had a single dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, rather than one of the other recognised vaccines (AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna), then you can have a booster after one shot rather than two. 

Monday, November 29th – health pass tests valid for only 24 hours

People using negative Covid test results as a way to validate their health pass will now have to present a negative test result from within the past 24 hours – this window will shorten from 72 hours.  This will force non-vaccinated people to take tests more regularly if they wish to continue using the health pass. 

Monday, November 29th – Change to Covid rules in schools

Primary school classrooms will not close, even after a pupil has tested positive for Covid. When one student tests positive, the rest of the class will have to take tests to prove they are not infected. Those who test negative will be able to stay in class. 

Wednesday, December 15th – Booster shot required for over 65s for valid health pass validity

Over 65s will need a booster shoot if they are to keep a valid health pass. Past this date, if you are over 65 and have waited for more than seven months since your last dose but haven’t received a booster, then your health pass will be deactivated. 

READ ALSO Can tourists aged over 65 still use France’s health pass?

Helpfully, if you use the TousAntiCovid app on your phone, you will receive an alert notifying you when your personal booster dose deadline is. 

Saturday, January 15th – All over 18s must have a booster shot to retain valid health pass

Over 18s will face the same rules as over 65s from this date. Remember that if you have already been infected with Covid (and have some kind of proof), then this counts the same as a dose of AstraZeneca/Moderna/Pfizer vaccine. 

Early 2022 – Vaccination of children aged 5-11? 

The European Medicines Agency has already approved vaccinating children aged 5-11.

The French Health Minister said health and ethics authorities in France would consider whether or not to offer the vaccine to younger children in the coming weeks. There will not be any formal decision before the start of the new year. 

Member comments

  1. Has France set itself up to fail here? My second jab was at the end of May, so I have until the end of December to have the booster before my passe sanitaire is deactivated. Have you tried booking an appointments on line for a jab? All of the sites are either down or have a constant 30 minutes or more waiting time, which never seems to reduce. There must be millions of people whose passe sanitaire expires in the next few weeks, and who are trying to get the booster. Surely the system cannot cope with such a number?

      1. There is a wait for the doctolib website – I waited approximately 20 minutes last night – but when I could access it, I received a booster appointment within 48 hours, also a reminder by email and an SMS.

    1. I waited a while on Doctolib for about 40 minutes but was able to get an appointment for a couple of weeks from now.

  2. Please clarify information in this article that conflicts with the US Embassy website: For 65 and over, is it 7 months after the 2nd dose as stated in this article, or does the pass expire on December 15 regardless of date of dose as stated on the US Embassy website?
    From the Embassy website:
    “People age 65 and older must receive a booster dose by December 15, or their health pass will expire.
    People age 18-64 must receive a booster within seven (7) months after their second dose or their health pass will expire beginning January 15, 2022.”
    https://fr.usembassy.gov/health-alert-u-s-embassy-paris-france-11-26-2021/

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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