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What changes as France eases Covid restrictions?

The Local France
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What changes as France eases Covid restrictions?
This illustration photo shows a person working on their laptop from a home office in Los Angeles on August 14, 2021. - In the United States, companies are delaying one after another the return of their employees to the office, worried about the new wave of contaminations with the spread of the Delta variant. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP)

Wednesday, February 2nd, marked the beginning of a two-step process of easing some of France's current Covid-related restrictions on daily life. Here's what changed and also a reminder of the rules that remain in place.


Wednesday February 2nd marked the first stage of the lifting of some of France's remaining Covid rules. Other restrictions remain in place until February 16th, while certain rules will stay "until further notice".

Wednesday, February 2nd

Masks - An end to face mask requirements in outdoor spaces - including in ski lifts and in the queues for ski lifts. They will still be required in all indoor places and public transport, while local authorities can impose extra mask requirements if necessary. So if authorities in ski resorts feel the need to reimpose the outdoor mask rule for cable cars or queues they can do so.

Gatherings - An end to limits on the size of gatherings or crowds (currently set at 2,000 indoors or 5,000 outdoors) meaning large events like Nice carnival can again take place, while sporting events can take place in front of full crowds once again.

READ ALSO What you need to know about watching sport in France

Remote working - End of compulsory télétravail (remote working) for three days a week. It remains recommended for those who can to work at least part of the week remotely, but this now returns to being a matter for employees and employers to decide between them.

And this is nothing to do with Covid, but February 2nd is also the festival of La Chandeleur in France, so you can celebrate your newfound freedom with a lovely crêpe.

February 16th

This is the second stage of restrictions being lifted.

  • People will again be allowed to eat in cinemas and sports grounds, as well as on trains and planes. This had 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 will reopen and the ban on dancing in bars is lifted


Travel rules

Rules around travel in and out of France have their own timetable and are not part of the government's calendar, as they depend not only on the situation in France but also the health situation in other countries.

Unvaccinated travellers from countries including the UK, USA, Canada and Australia are still banned from entering France unless their journey is essential and most non-EU arrivals also require a negative Covid test in order to enter the country.

Travel rules are regularly reviewed however - you can read the latest on upcoming changes HERE.

Rules that remain in place

The following rules have no set end date, and are in place until the health situation shows a sustained improvement.

Masks - must be worn in all public indoor spaces as well as on public transport. There are no exemptions to mask use and you risk a €135 fine if you are not wearing a mask correctly

Vaccine pass - the vaccine pass is required to enter a wide range of venues including bars, cafés, restaurants, ski lifts, cinemas, theatres, tourist sites, gyms, leisure centres and long-distance transport. It requires proof of full vaccination - a negative Covid test is no longer accepted - and may also require boosters - full details HERE

The health minister has said that the vaccine pass could be scrapped 'by July' if the health situation permits.


Schools protocols - schools have regularly-reviewed Covid protocols in place including testing, mask rules and changes to the use of canteens and play areas in order to minimise mixing.

Self-isolation - if you test positive for Covid you are required to self-isolate - full details HERE

Barrier gestures - this is a recommendation not a rule so you can't actually be fined for giving someone a hearty handshake or a peck on the cheek, but is still recommended to keep these gestures to a minimum and practice physical distancing where possible.



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Anonymous 2022/02/08 20:30
The vaccines, especially when boosted, are VERY EFFECTIVE (and exceptionally safe). The chance of fully-vaccinated boosted individual getting infected is minor, IF infected anyways the chance of a serious case is extremely minor, and IF that very unlikely case does happen to be serious (very very unlikely), the chances of ending up in ICU are close to non-existent. The contrast with a un-vaccinated, or not-boosted, individual is stark. Orders of magnitude-scale difference. President Macron didn't go far enough with the "piss off morons" statement. Anti-scientific nutcases are almost all (and frequently ALL) of the Covid-cases in ICU. The ICUs are full with teh stooopids, blocking access to ICU facilities for those which genuine, involuntary, problems. The vaccines do not provide everyone with perfect protection, but NAME ONE VACCINE which does! That “reasoning”, that because “there are breakthrough cases so there's no point in getting vaccined” is unconvincing. It uses the “reasoning” that “since it's not prefect it's useless”, which means there's no point in wearing a seatbelt, or having a parachute when skydiving, or eating food (you might choke), or using stairs (you can fall), or indeed doing anything… Whatever it is, it might go wrong, and is therefore useless.
Anonymous 2022/02/03 08:42
The travel bans and restrictions no longer make sense. Omicron has shown that even triple vaccinated people can get it and travel restrictions - especially to UK - haven’t stopped it’s spread. During January daily new case numbers in France outstripped UK by a considerable margin so imposing continued restrictions on travel from UK seems absurd.
Anonymous 2022/02/03 04:04
None of this makes sense anymore, with such high Omicron numbers and the vaccine having VERY limited effect/ if any on it with breakthrough infections obvious- why any restrictions?The vaxxed can go to a concert in the thousands inc being in the famous ‘mosh pit’, but the unvaccinated can’t get a coffee on an outside terrace. It’s punishment for not being coerced - enough is enough France- you are being vindictive Macron, but then we knew you we like that with your ‘piss off the unvaxxed’ rhetoric.

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