Paris brings back outdoor face mask rule and orders early closure of bars

Wearing face masks outdoors became compulsory again in Paris on Friday in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid, while restrictions were also introduced for the New Year weekend.

A Paris municipal police officer wearing a face mask asks people to put on their masks
A Paris municipal police officer wearing a face mask asks people to put on their masks. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

The mandate applied from Friday, December 31st, to everyone over the age of 11 except those inside vehicles, cyclists, users of two-wheeled transport like scooters and those doing sport, Paris police HQ said in a statement.

Police justified the measure saying “people intermingle in Paris constantly and gatherings or crowds are numerous”.

Patrols would be stepped up in busy areas to enforce the new rule, police said and those who flouted the law could face a €135 fine.

Although the national rules stipulate face masks only in indoor public spaces and certain outdoor venues such as sports stadiums and markets, many local authorities have brought in their own rules on face masks outdoors.

Paris joined a long list of areas – including many ski resorts – where local authorities have made masks mandatory outdoors as well as indoors.

The greater Paris areas of Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise and Seine-et-Marne have also reinstated mask rules in outdoor areas.

Paris police also announced extra restrictions around the New Year weekend.

  • All bars, including those with a late licence, must close by 2am on January 1st and 2nd
  • The consumption of alcohol in traditionally busy public areas – including the banks of the Seine and Ile de la Cité – is banned between 6pm on December 31st and 6am on January 1st
  • Dancing is prohibited in bars and cafés (this has actually already been announced by the government but was reiterated by Paris police). Nightclubs are closed throughout the country for at least three weeks

France on Wednesday reported a new record-high daily Covid-19 case total of 208,000 as Omicron drives infections up after Christmas. Paris has seen soaring infection rates in recent weeks with the incidence rate passing 2,000 cases per 100,000.

“I wouldn’t call Omicron a wave anymore… I would call it a tidal wave,” said French Health Minister Olivier Véran.

The government has announced new restrictions including an extension on the closure of nightclubs and encouraging more remote working.

But it has so far shied away from mass closures or lockdowns seen in other EU countries such as the Netherlands.

Member comments

      1. Hello all. Most major cities (Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse etc.) will follow Paris BUT if there are any specific restrictions they will be posted on bars, restaurants etc. no dancing is allowed anywhere. No fireworks are happening. Imagine last year. A bit similar.
        ask me any questions since I teach French Society, French Culture and read so many newspapers.

  1. I had a trip planned for February. I have the Green pass from my visit in October with the booster on the pass. My 2 friends that are coming with me have all 3 shots BUT I the green pass site to USA is closed. Anyone know what the new protocol is now ? Can they use their Covid cards to enter places ? In October Covid cards were sufficient.
    Thank you if anyone can answer.

    1. February is in two months. Things change rapidly. Check 3 days in advance the French Consulate website in your area. Protocols are rapidly changing. Two choices : Omicron might be gone OR we have a new variant. If you buy any airline ticket, make sure there is a GOOD cancellation policy so you can postpone or cancel without fees or loss of money.
      ask me anything through my website

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France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change 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 will relax in France as the country ends 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 will take 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 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will 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 will begin in 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.