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COVID-19 RULES

Calendar: When is France lifting Covid restrictions?

France has now laid out the full programme for lifting Covid restrictions - here's what is happening and when.

An outdoor market in France.
Calendar: When is France lifting Covid restrictions? Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

Monday, January 24th

  • Vaccine pass 

France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass on January 24th. From this date, a negative test will no longer be accepted in order to access venues including bars, restaurants, cafés, gyms, leisure centres, tourist sites, cinemas, theatres and long-distance trains.

Instead people must show either proof of full vaccination (including a booster for those eligible), proof of recent recovery from Covid or an attestation de contre-indication (a certificate that you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons)

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

Exceptions to this rule are children aged between 12 and 15 and people needing entry to medical establishments as a visitor or for a non-urgent appointment. In these cases a negative test no more than 24 hours old will be accepted.

  • Vaccine booster for teenagers

Also on January 24th the vaccine booster shot programme will open up to children aged between 12 and 17.

Wednesday, February 2nd (first stage of lifting restrictions)

  • An end to mask requirements in outdoor spaces
  • An end to limits on the size of gatherings (currently set at 2,000 indoors or 5,000) outdoors
  • End of compulsory remote working for three days a week, although it remains recommended for those who can

Tuesday, February 15th

  • A booster dose will be required within four months of the second dose of  Covid vaccine in order to keep the vaccine pass valid and activated. Currently the pass deactivates if people have not had their booster within seven months after getting their second shot, but this window shrinks to four months from February 15th. People are eligible three months after their second dose

READ ALSO When will my health pass deactivate?

  • Unvaccinated people who receive a first dose between January 20th and February 15th will be able to use a combination of their first dose and a negative Covid test in order to access vaccine pass venues. Those who get the first dose after February 15th will have to wait until seven days after their second dose in order to use the vaccine pass.
  • The certificate of recovery from Covid, which can be used instead of proof of vaccination for the vaccine pass, will only be valid for four months from today, after previously being valid for six months. If you are not vaccinated but recently caught Covid, you can upload a positive test result that is more than 11 days old but less than four months old to the TousAntiCovid app. People who tested positive in France can upload their test results direct to the app, those who tested positive outside France face a more complicated process – full details here

Wednesday, February 16th (second stage of lifting restrictions)

  • People will again be allowed to eat in cinemas and sports grounds, as well as on trains and planes. This has been banned in order to ensure that people remained masked in indoor spaces
  • Cafés and bars will not longer be limited to table service only
  • Concerts and music gigs can once again take place
  • Nightclubs reopen and the ban on dancing in bars is lifted

Monday, February 21st 

Children returning to primary schools after the February half term will be able to enjoy a level 2 Covid protocol – a downgrade from the level 3 rules that were in place before the break. 

  • Children will be allowed to mix with others of their own age group – rather than being confined to mixing with their own class;
  • Children will not have to wear masks while outside;
  • Inside sports are allowed once again (except for contact sports), even without a mask.

These rules apply to schools in Zone B from February 21st, Zone A from February 28th and Zone C from March 7th. 

Parents of children under the age of 12 will no longer need to sign an attestation sur l’honneur declaring that these tests have been taken. 

Monday, February 28th 

  • Mask wearing rules relaxed 

Masks will no longer be obligatory in venues that require visitors to show a vaccine pass – bars, restaurants, cafés, ski lifts, cinemas, theatres, tourist sites, large events, gyms, concert halls and libraries.

They will still be required for all indoor spaces that do not require a vaccine pass, such as shops and workplaces.

Masks will also still be required on all public transport – even on the long-distance routes for which a vaccine pass is required.

  • Testing protocol relaxed 

People will no longer need to take two self-tests after an initial PCR/antigen test after coming into contact with someone who has Covid. 

You will still need to take an antigen or PCR test on the day you come into contact with an infected person (or as soon as you realise this was the case). But instead of two follow-up self-tests on Day 2 and Day 4, you will only need to take the Day 2 test. 

Monday, March 14th

  • Mask rule lifted

Masks will no longer be required in any indoor public spaces, with the exception of public transport, hospitals and other medical establishments and care homes. Any privately-run business will still be allowed to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

  • Vaccine pass suspended

The vaccine pass will no longer be required for entry to any venue in France. However a health pass – showing either proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test – will still be required for non-emergency treatment in a hospital or medical centre or to visit a hospital, care home or any other establishment that houses very vulnerable people.

What’s left?

Masks are still required on public transport, in hospitals and care homes.

A health pass is required to entry to establishment with very vulnerable residents such as care homes. Either proof of fully-vaccinated status or a recent negative Covid test is required.

People who test positive for Covid are required to self-isolate until they test negative.

Travel restrictions are still in place for several countries including the UK, USA and Australia – unvaccinated people can only travel for essential reasons. Most of the rest of the world is on the green list, which means that vaccinated people can travel with no restrictions and unvaccinated people can travel for any reason but need to show a recent negative test at the border – full details here.  

Member comments

  1. Does anyone know if tourists who travel to France and have an approved vaccine card with a booster than was administered longer than 4 months after the second shot will be given the French Vaccine Card at a pharmacy?

  2. I am a semi-retired International Referee Coach representing the professional (Basketball) international league EUROLEAGUE as a Match Assessor with teams in France in Paris, Bourg-en-Bresse, Lyon, and Monaco. Since the 24 hr PCR pre-entry test required rather than 48 hrs in most countries, I have been unable to enter France and continue my part-time employment. Is there any movement or flexibility for a 48hr pre-entry PCR at all, despite having all 3 vaccinations?

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For members

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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