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COVID-19 RULES

EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

France has ended the requirement for the vaccine pass and relaxed mask rules in many areas, but some restrictions remain. If you're planning a trip to France, this is what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?
From Monday, the vaccine pass will no longer be required to visit bars or cafés in France. Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP

France suspended its vaccine pass on March 14th, after requiring a pass in various forms since the summer of 2021.

Bars, cafés, restaurants, ski lifts, tourist sites, gyms, leisure centres, sports stadiums, cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, concerts, large events and long-distance trains – none of these venues require any kind of pass or QR code to enter.

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Only Ehpad nursing homes, hospitals and medical centres retain the use of the pass and this is the health pass – which means that unvaccinated people can use a recent negative Covid test. Emergency medical care has always been provided with no pass required.

The pass is technically ‘suspended’ rather than scrapped, so it could return if cases spike again. However local authorities do not have the power to impose the use of the vaccine/health pass, so there will be no regional variations on this one. 

Masks – the mask rule has ended for many venues, but there are some exceptions.

It is no longer required in shops, bars, cafés, gyms, leisure centres, workplaces or other indoor venues. The mask requirement for outdoor venues was scrapped earlier in the year.

You must still wear masks, however, on all public transport (including taxis and VTC like Uber) and in all stations, airports and transport interchanges. Failure to wear a mask covering your mouth and nose on public transport can net you a €135 fine.

Masks are also required for patients and visitors in all medical establishments including hospitals and nursing homes.

Private businesses are legally entitled to impose their own conditions of entry, which can include a mask requirement, and local authorities also have the power to impose mask rules if cases spike.

Workplaces – in the workplace, mask-wearing is no longer required (apart from in healthcare settings) and limits on workplace canteens and protocols on ventilation, spacing and hand sanitising have also ended.

As for télétravail (remote working), this “remains in the hands of the employers” said Labour minister Elisabeth Borne. This has been a recommendation rather than a rule, and the government has now ended its recommendation for at least two days a week of remote working, but if people prefer to continue working from home they can discuss it with their employer.

Schools – schools are also covered by the mask rule, so pupils and teachers no longer have to wear masks in class. With a few brief exceptions, masks were compulsory in French schools since May 2020. Schools had returned from the February holidays to a more relaxed health protocol which includes more mixing between classes, the resumption of indoors sports and a less rigorous protocol for children who test positive for Covid.

Vaccine mandate – the mandate making Covid vaccination – including a booster – compulsory for medical staff remains in place.

Travel – as for travel, nothing changes and unvaccinated travellers from certain countries are still barred – click HERE for a full breakdown of the travel rules.

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TRAVEL NEWS

‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.

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