Sunday, June 13

French ‘art de vivre’ gets a boost with the reopening of restaurants and borders

Starting Wednesday, the French can return to restaurants and bars, while foreign travelers with a COVID passport can visit the country once again.

Wednesday marks the next phase in the easing of restrictions announced in late April by President Emmanuel Macron.

It largely depends on the launch of a health pass that proves that the holder has been vaccinated, has recently tested negative for the virus or has recently recovered.

What are the changes to the restrictions?

  • The night curfew is delayed for another two hours until 11:00 pm; it is scheduled to be fully lifted on June 30;
  • Cafes and restaurants can receive customers indoors at 50% of their capacity with a maximum of 6 people per table. The terraces can be filled to 100% of their capacity, also with a maximum of six people per table;
  • Capacity in museums and other cultural venues, including cinemas and theaters, is increased with events of up to 5,000 people allowed, although health passes are required for any event of more than 1,000 people;
  • Capacity at outdoor sporting events increased to 5,000 with health passes if it exceeds 1,000;
  • Large exhibitions and fairs can be held with a maximum of 5,000 attendees with health passes if they exceed 1,000;

  • Outdoor physical activity, including contact sports, is allowed with a maximum of 25 participants. Amateur competitions can also be held with a maximum of 500 people;

  • Places of worship and association ceremonies, as well as weddings, can be held at 50% capacity;

  • Funerals can be attended by up to 75 people;

  • Foreign tourists with health passes can enter the country.

What are the travel restrictions?

As of today, France operates under a traffic light system similar to that of the United Kingdom with countries classified as green, amber or red based on their epidemiological situation. The list will be updated periodically and can be accessed here.

Green countries include the rest of the EU, as well as Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.

Travelers must have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer / BioNTech, AstraZeneca / Oxford University, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) or present a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before travel if they are not vaccinated.

Most other countries fall into the amber category, including the US and UK and most of Asia and Africa.

In order to cross the border, travelers must be fully inoculated with an EMA-approved vaccine and present a negative PCR or antigen test taken within the previous 72 hours; or if they are not vaccinated, they have an essential reason to visit, in which case they will need to undergo a test before departure and self-isolate for seven days upon arrival.

Countries with an “active circulation” of the virus are classified in red. These include Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Turkey, and Uruguay.

All travelers from these countries, vaccinated or not, must provide an essential reason for visiting, present a PCR or antigen test no more than 48 hours prior to departure, and undergo an antigen test upon arrival. Vaccinated people must self-isolate for seven days, while unvaccinated travelers must undergo a 10-day quarantine controlled by law enforcement officials.

What is the COVID situation in France?

France is one of the worst affected countries in Europe with more than 110,000 lives lost from the pandemic.

The seven-day national incidence rate currently stands at 68.7 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 364.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants when the third national shutdown was announced on March 31. About a third of the country’s metropolitan population departments They have an incidence rate of less than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, including some on the Mediterranean coast severely affected earlier this year.

An average of 6,100 people tested positive for the virus daily in the past week. The number of hospitalizations has also fallen dramatically in the past two months with 394 COVID-19 patients admitted Tuesday, down from the 2021 peak of more than 2,100 on April 12.

More than 28.2 million of the country’s 67.1 million people have received at least one vaccine and 14.3 million are fully vaccinated.

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