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COVID-19 RULES

UPDATE: What are the Covid rules and recommendations in France for summer 2022?

If you're planning a trip to France in summer 2022, this is what you need to know about the Covid rules and recommendations that remain in place.

UPDATE: What are the Covid rules and recommendations in France for summer 2022?
From Monday, the vaccine pass will no longer be required to visit bars or cafés in France. Photo by THOMAS COEX / AFP

Covid cases are rising again in France and authorities are preparing contingency plans. We will update this article if anything changes, but here are the rules in place at present.

Health pass

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 currently ‘suspended’ rather than scrapped, but the health emergency law that enforced it is set to run out on July 31st. The president of the National Assembly confirmed that there are no current plans to reintroduce the health pass in metropolitan France in the next version of the law, though there is a possibility the pass will be brought back for the implementation of border control measures – such as requiring visitors to France to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.

The new “health monitoring and security” law will come into effect August 1.

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

Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, masks will once again be mandatory on public transport (on buses and tramways) in the metropolitan area of Nice. The city’s Mayor announced that the measure – intended to reduce the impact of the seventh wave – will take effect starting July 11. 

In the rest of France, masks are no longer compulsory on public transport, but they are ‘strongly recommended’ and in recent days both the health minister and the prime minister have advised people to wear masks on all forms of public transport.

Masks are not required in other indoor venues such as shops, cinemas or museums.

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” and it is up to workers and their bosses to come to an agreement about working in the office or from home.

The government has 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.

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

Travel – travellers coming from ‘green’ countries need to provide either proof of full vaccination (including boosters in certain cases) or proof of a recent negative Covid test. Requirements for red and orange countries are stricter, but most of the world is now green on France’s travel map – click HERE for a full breakdown of the travel rules.

Changes?

France is currently in the grips of a seventh wave of Covid as cases spike again. The health ministry has prepared a draft plan, which could be brought into effect if the situation gets worse. This included re-introducing mask mandates for certain areas, especially public transport’ and imposing extra restrictions on international travel. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

What to expect from strike action in France during the February school holidays

Several French unions have filed strike notices for February, with some aiming to target to busy February holiday period - here's what you can expect.

What to expect from strike action in France during the February school holidays

France is in the grip of a major confrontation between unions and the government over plans to reform the pension system.

So far, the main actions have been concentrated on one-day strikes that are supported by all eight of the union federations, however an increasing number of unions are filing notices for renewable or unlimited strikes, with some targeting the February holidays.

The French minister of tourism, Olivia Gregoire, called on unions to respect the “sacred period” of school holidays (which in France run from February 4th to March 6th, depending on which zone you are in).

Meanwhile, Philippe Martinez, the head of the hardline CGT union, told RTL that if the government remains stubborn then “there is a possibility of days of action during the school vacations”.

As a result, it is likely that further notices will be filed.  The Local will update this story with the latest – but here’s what we know so far.

January actions

Tuesday, January 31st – this is the next one-day mass strike, which will likely see severe disruption on many services, particularly public transport – full details here.

February actions

Trains – two rail unions – the hardline Sud-Rail and CGT-Cheminots – have filed a renewable strike notice for “mid-February” in addition to a two-day strike which is to take place on Tuesday, February 7th, and Wednesday, and 8th. 

READ MORE: Calendar: The French pension strike dates to remember

Ski resorts – two of the largest unions representing French ski lift operators and seasonal workers, FO (Force ouvrière) and the CGT, have filed “unlimited” strike notices starting on January 31st – the same day that unions across other sectors have called for another ‘mass strike’.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the strike will continue throughout February, but unions say they want to put pressure on the government to discuss both pensions and changes to benefits for seasonal workers, which particularly affect ski industry employees.

The CGT union in particular has threatened further actions during the Ski World Championships, held in Courchevel from February 6th to February 19th. Strikes in ski resorts usually primarily affect the operation of ski lifts. You can read more here.

Oil refinery workers – refinery workers have threatened to strike for a period of 72 hours beginning on February 6th. 

The national union coordinator for French oil giant, TotalEnergies, Eric Sellini, told AFP that these actions would result in “lower throughput” and “the stoppage of shipments.”

The most concrete effect of this is likely to be shortages of petrol and diesel at some filling stations if the blockades are successful in stopping supplies leaving the refineries.

Power cuts – the hardline CGT have also threatened more “direct action” with employees of the State electricity sector threatening to cut the power to certain towns. This isn’t a scheduled action (or indeed a legal one, the government has promised to prosecute workers who do this) but short targeted power cuts could continue into February.

UK border – finally, if you are travelling to or from the UK, be aware that a UK Border Force strike is planned for February 1st and 2nd, which is likely to increase waiting times at the border.

We will update this story as more details are released, and you can also find all the latest in our strike section HERE.

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