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COVID-19 RULES

Covid rules: What changes in France on Monday

As France gradually relaxes its Covid rules the next stage comes into force on Monday and concerns face masks and testing - here's what changes.

Covid rules: What changes in France on Monday
Masks will remain compulsory on public transport. Photo by ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

When

In light of falling Covid cases, the French government has announced that it will relax mask wearing rules from Monday, February 28th. 

Where?

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.

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

Vaccine pass

Remember that you can only enter a vaccine pass venue if you have:

  • Proof of full vaccination (including a booster if you are over 18)
  • A certificate of recent recovery from Covid – full details on how to get that HERE
  • An attestation de contre-indication – this is a certificate stating that you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. This must conform to the French QR code format – full details HERE

Local rules and recommendations  

It has not been necessary to wear a mask outside since February 2nd – although it is still recommended that people wear masks when meeting in large groups. 

Local authorities have the right to impose their own mask-wearing rules. If you are unsure about the situation in your area, check with the local mairie (town hall) or prefecture. 

Likewise private businesses are legally entitled to make mask-wearing a rule.

In addition to the mask-wearing rules, France is also lifting some of its other strict Covid-related rules on a rolling timetable. 

CALENDAR When does France lift its Covid rules

What other changes take place on  Monday? 

The testing protocol for people who have come into contact with someone infected with Covid, a cas contact in French, is to be relaxed on February 28th.

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. 

If your self-test is positive, you will need to take an antigen or PCR test to confirm the result. If this indicates that you are still positive, you will need to self isolate. 

If you are a contact case but fully vaccinated and test negative after your initial test, there is no need to self-isolate. If you are a contact case but not fully vaccinated, the current rules state that you need to respect a seven-day quarantine and that you should test at day zero and again on day seven. A negative test is required to leave isolation after that period.

Other changes

Other rules have been relaxed during February, but the mask rule is the last change that has a confirmed date.

The next stages are likely to be scrapping mask requirements in spaces such as schools and workplaces and lifting (or at least limiting) the use of the vaccine pass.

These changes do not have fixed dates but are instead dependent on France hitting targets relating to Covid case numbers and hospital rates – full details here.

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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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