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Covid rules: What you need to know about watching sport in France

As France relaxes its health restrictions, here's what you need to know about the health protocol if you have match tickets.

France football fans, many in bleu, blanc, rouge colours, waving flags at Stade de France
Photo: Philippe Lopez / AFP

As France gradually relaxes its Covid restrictions, sports are once again being played in full stadiums.

So if you have a ticket for a match in France, here’s what you need to know about the health protocol around sports venues.

Visiting France for a match?

If you don’t live in France, bear in mind that there are still travel restrictions in place and if you are not fully vaccinated you cannot travel to France from orange countries (including the UK) for non-essential reasons.

The French government does not consider travelling to watch your team play essential.

You can find the full list of travel rules HERE.

There’s no need for a vaccine pass

France ended its vaccine pass requirement on Monday, March 14th, for all venues – including sports grounds.

If you have tickets that you bought in advance of a match they may still state that a vaccine pass is required to enter, but in fact this will not be needed.

Masks

France has lifted a number of mask rules, but they remain in place on public transport.

So if you’re travelling on public transport (including a taxi or VTC like Uber) to and from the match you will need to wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth.

French mask rules have no medical exemptions and you can be fined €135 for failure to wear a mask correctly.

Once inside the ground, however, you are not required to wear a mask – although they remain advised for people who are elderly or have medical conditions.

If you’re in a bar or restaurant before or after the game, you will not need a mask.

Food and drink

Earlier versions of the Covid rules banned eating and drinking in sports grounds, but once the mask rule was lifted so was this restriction. So you can now get a beer and snacks while you watch, or at half time.

Could this change again?

The vaccine pass is technically suspended, rather than scrapped altogether, so it could be reintroduced if cases spike. This is probably unlikely to happen before the presidential elections at the end of April, however.

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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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