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Covid Restrictions Lifting in Paris: France’s Reopening Plan

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Last night President Macron announced the government’s latest plans to slowly lift the Covid restrictions and reopen the country for business and travel.

The Four-Stage Reopening Plan

DATECHANGECURFEW
May 3rd10km distance limit lifted, anyone in France can circulate freely within the country without an attestation; schools reopen.7pm-6am
May 19thReopening 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 9thCafés 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 visitors with a Health Pass (see below).11pm-6am
June 30thNo 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
NOTE: These reopenings could be blocked in metropolitan areas or départements according to three criteria: “The incidence rate which would again exceed 400 infections per 100,000 inhabitants; a sudden increase in this rate; or a threat of saturation of intensive care services,” says President Macron.

Ongoing Restrictions

  • Masks must still be worn in all public places, even for those who are vaccinated (except when running or cycling).
  • Gatherings of no more than 6 people are allowed in public.
  • Alcohol consumption in public in Paris is temporarily banned.

Vaccinations

As of May 1st, the following people can be vaccinated in France:

  • Anyone 55 years old and over
  • Anyone 18 and older with health issues or conditions that make them vulnerable to Covid-19, including obesity (check here)
  • Pregnant women starting from their second trimester
  • EPHAD (nursing home) residents
  • Healthcare professionals, care home workers, firefighters, and veterinarians.

The roll-out for others to be vaccinated will be progressive by age group:

  • May 10th for everyone 50 and over (they will start opening Doctolib appointment slots starting May 7th)
  • June 15th for all adults 18+ (you can also try and get one of the “unclaimed” doses starting May 12th by checking on Doctolib. Each night they will post how many appointments are available the following day (so you have to check each night for slots available the following day).

The government estimates that everyone who wants to be vaccinated in France will be able to do so by the end of June.

Covid Testing Tent at a Pharmacy
Covid Testing Tent at a Pharmacy

Where to Get Tested or Vaccinated

Vaccinations and Covid tests 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 these centers is on the TousAntiCovid appYou 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).

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

Health Pass

The government is currently discussing details of introducing an official Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) that would be required starting in June to access places where there are typically large crowds, such as stadiums, festivals, fairs or exhibitions. “It would not be compulsory to access places of everyday life such as restaurants, theaters, cinemas, or to go see friends,” said President Macron. The French Parliament will decide on the specifics. Like Covid tests and vaccinations, the Health Pass will be free for all French residents registered in the healthcare system.

At the moment, plans are that it will be a paper or digital document 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 TousAntiCovid app.

Travel to France with a Health Pass

France hopes to reopen its borders for all Covid-free travelers beginning June 9th.

Note that 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.  

The European Union has approved the use of a Health Pass (also called the Digital Green Certificate) for travel within the EU by the end of June to make it easier to reopen to tourists and business travelers without other restrictions.

There have been plenty of articles discussing when France will open to American travelers. A Health Pass used by all travelers will make it a lot easier to get through customs and border controls (just like a passport). This seems like a small inconvenience to deal with to be able to reopen the borders (and don’t forget that European citizens have needed an ESTA certificate to travel to the US for many years now). In any case, if you’re booking your travel or planning on coming to France this summer, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork, vaccine, or tests required before taking off.

In the meantime, travel by international travelers from outside the EU to France is still heavily restricted except for those who meet specific exemptions (download the English exemption form here). A negative Covid-19 test must be obtained before arrival, and a 7-day self-quarantine required once in the country.

US citizens can check the American Embassy in Paris for the latest travel restrictions in English. Check here for Canadian citizens. Travelers from the UK, New Zealand, and Australia are already allowed to travel to France with proof of vaccine or negative PCR test.

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