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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

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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