On May 22nd President Macron announced the government’s latest plans to slowly lift the Covid restrictions and reopen the country for business and travel. Here are the basics…
NOTE: To get the latest news, read The Latest Covid Updates for France: Testing, Vaccines, and Traveler Requirements
The Four-Stage Reopening Plan
|May 3rd||10km distance limit lifted, anyone in France can circulate freely within the country without an attestation; schools reopen.||7pm-6am|
|May 19th||Reopening of all shops, café/restaurant sidewalk terraces (up to 6 people per table); cultural institutions (museums, cinemas, and theatres) and spectator sports venues can open with up to 800 people indoors and 1000 outdoors.||9pm-6am|
|June 9th||Cafés and restaurants can start indoor service and gyms can reopen while respecting the limits of guests per square meter; cultural and sporting venues and trade shows can now welcome up to 5000 people; France opens its borders to certain vaccinated tourists (see below).||11pm-6am|
|June 17th||Masks no longer need to be worn outside.||11pm-6am|
|June 20th||Curfew restrictions finally lifted.||No Curfew|
|June 30th||No more limits on the number of people who can be welcomed indoors (this could be restricted in some cases by local municipalities); nightclubs remain closed.||No Curfew|
- Masks must still be worn indoors in all public places, even for those who are vaccinated, as well as outdoor spaces where people are close together (concerts, markets, etc) so make sure you always have a mask in your pocket just in case.
- Gatherings of no more than 10 people are allowed in public.
- Alcohol consumption in public in Paris is still banned in certain areas after 4pm (this has been the case since 2019; see the full list here)
Where to Get Tested or Vaccinated
As of May 31st, all adults in France can be vaccinated free of charge. You can get vaccinated by your generalist, at the temporary vaccination centers (in certain stadiums, town halls, and even Disneyland!), and at pharmacies. Make an appointment at the Covid Vaccination Center closest to you on the same platforms: www.sante.fr or Doctolib, or on the Vite Ma Dose! app. Vaccinations are free for anyone in the French healthcare system.
You can get both PCR and antigenic Covid tests without a prescription at pharmacies or Covid test centers all over Paris (many, like pictured above, don’t even require an appointment). The interactive map of some of these centers is on the TousAntiCovid app. You can also find them listed at Sante.fr (dépistage) or by simply using the Doctolib website to find and book online (type “covid” into the search bar). Or just walk into the nearest pharmacy and you’ll usually see a sign for “Test Covid”.
Travel to France
France announced it would reopen its borders for all Covid-free travelers on June 9th. The government released a chart explaining the basics, dividing travelers into three groups based on where you’re traveling from (or have been living in the past several months), regardless of nationality unless you’re French:
- A handful of “green” countries can travel to France without any restrictions except a negative PCR test for anyone NOT vaccinated. Includes all of EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, and the United States.
- A handful of “red” countries can’t come without an “imperative reason” (basically the same as during confinement) and must quarantine on arrival, even if vaccinated. Includes most of South America, India, Pakistan, Turkey, South Africa, and Bahrain.
- The rest of the countries are “orange”, including the UK and most African and Asian countries. Travelers from these countries who are vaccinated just need a negative PCR test within three days of arrival. Those without vaccines have to have a good reason to visit (the same reasons that have been accepted during the past year, download the form here), a negative PCR test, and a 7-day self-quarantine on arrival. So, if you’re not vaccinated it’s going to be pretty complicated for you to visit at the moment.
Note that “vaccinated” means fully vaccinated at least two weeks if Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca; four weeks for Johnson & Johnson. The Health Pass won’t be ready until the end of June, so those of you coming beforehand just need to bring any and all forms of proof you have for your vaccine.
Several European Union countries have started using an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC), previously called the Digital Green Certificate. This will be required starting July 1st in all 27 member states (it will be available for specific non-EU countries, too, although no word on where the US stands on this). It will consist of information about an individual’s vaccination, test and/or recovery status in regards to COVID-19. Formulated as a QR code, the person traveling can choose to carry either a digital or paper-based certificate.
Proof of health status (vaccination or negative Covid test) is already required to return to France from abroad, to travel between metropolitan France and the overseas departments and territories, or to travel to Corsica. The scannable QR code is meant to simplify and speed up border crossings where authorities have been up until now bogged down in paperwork inspections for each traveler.
More info here from the European Union.
Health Pass for Locals
In France, the Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) will be used June 9th through the end of September to access places where there are typically large crowds, such as stadiums, festivals, fairs, exhibitions, and airports for anyone 11 years old and up. “It would not be compulsory to access places of everyday life such as restaurants, theaters, cinemas, or to go see friends,” said President Macron. Like Covid tests and vaccinations, the Health Pass will be free for all French residents.
It is digitally available through the TousAntiCovid app with a scannable QR code that serves as proof that you have been either: vaccinated against Covid-19, have a negative PCR or antigenic test, or that you’re immune after being infected (so a vaccine is not the only option). The certified results of PCR or antigen tests, as well as vaccination certificates, can already be securely downloaded from the sidep.gouv.fr platform or imported into the. If you get your vaccine or test in France, it automatically uploads to the app when you scan the QR code, so no need to do anything but present it when asked. You can also use a printout with QR code if you don’t have a smartphone.
The Pass Sanitaire on the TousAntiCovid will serve as the EU Digital COVID Certificate for French residents starting June 21st, so there is nothing additional you will need for the July 1st deadline to travel with the pass throughout the countries that accept it.
Returning Home From France
Whether or not your own country will allow you to travel (or return home without restrictions) is another story. The American Embassy in France’s website updated their website on June 20th with the rules for traveling to France, but we’re all still waiting to see when the US will allow French residents to visit. Check here for Canadian citizens.