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