Coronavirus COVID-19: the situation in France

Consult French government recommendations on the travel and health measures in place.

For recommendations updated in real time concerning measures taken on French territory, consult the Government / Coronavirus Info site. (External link)

Health measures in France

The reinforced health measures, which were until now in force in 19 French departments, are extended to the entire metropolitan territory, from Saturday April 3 and for a period of 4 weeks.

Travel within France

  • Travel from one region to another is prohibited, except for compelling reasons (work, training, health, mission of general interest, moving) and with a mandatory certificate (External link) . Note that there is a tolerance for travel between regions for the Easter weekend (April 3 to 5) in order to allow the population to organize themselves before the incipient measures.
  • Travel within a radius of 10 km (6.2 miles) around one's home (physical activities, walking) is authorized without a certificate, with a simple proof of address.
  • Travel beyond 10 km (6.2 miles) from one's home but still in one's department of residence are authorized on condition of presenting a mandatory certificate (External link) for the following reasons: buy or withdraw an order; carry out administrative or legal formalities that cannot be carried out remotely; go to a cultural establishment or place of worship; accompany their children to school or to their extracurricular activities.
  • The curfew remains in effect from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., which means that travel during this time slot is prohibited, except for compelling reasons (work, training, health, mission of general interest at the request of the administrative authority, house moving that cannot be deferred) and with a mandatory certificate (External link) , under penalty of a fine of € 135 and up to € 3,750 in the event of a repeat offense. Establishments authorized to open (see below) can no longer welcome the public after 7 p.m.

Openings and closures

Open, permitted to open:

  • The counters of public services and banks
  • Shops selling basic goods and services, in particular bookstores, record stores, hairdressing salons, DIY stores, plant and flower stores, chocolate makers, shoemakers, car dealerships (by appointment) and visits to real estate agencies.
  • Pharmacies
  • Open markets (only food shops or businesses offering the sale of flowers, seeds, fertilizers, seeds and plants of fruit or vegetable species remain open in closed markets).
  • Parks, gardens, forests and beaches
  • Public transport
  • Take-out and restaurant delivery services
  • Hotels have the opportunity to welcome their customers. Only the restaurant/bar areas are closed, room service is, however, authorized.
  • Collective inns, tourist residences, residential tourist villages, holiday villages and family holiday homes as well as camping and caravan sites.
  • Places of worship

The following remain closed:

  • Shopping centers of more than 10,000 m² (107639 ft²) are closed (only food stores and pharmacies in shopping centers of less than 10,000 m² are open)
  • Cinemas, theatres, performance halls and museums;
  • Restaurants, bars and other public hospitality establishments;
  • Nurseries, schools, colleges and high schools, closed from Saturday April 2 and for 3 weeks.
  • Sports halls and gymnasiums;
  • Nightclubs and casinos, saunas/steamrooms.
  • By prefectural decree, access to certain sites suitable for outdoor gatherings, such as quays, banks or squares may be prohibited depending on local circumstances.

The exhaustive list of shops and establishments open or closed can be found on the Service Public website (External link) .

Other measures and restrictions

Gatherings, meetings or activities on public roads bringing together more than six people simultaneously are prohibited.

The consumption of alcohol on public roads is now prohibited.

Wearing a mask is compulsory in enclosed public places throughout the country for anyone aged 11 and over.

The obligation to wear a mask may be extended to places deemed relevant by the prefects of each department, depending on the local health situation. Detailed information is available from the prefectures (External link) . The map and updated data on the spread of Covid-19 in France are available on the French government website (External link) .

A fine of €135 will be charged in the event of non-compliance with wearing a mask in the places concerned, up to €3,750 in the event of a repeat offence.

Wearing a mask is compulsory on public transport. Travellers should ensure that the greatest possible distance is maintained between passengers or groups of passengers not travelling together. More information is available on the SNCF (External link) and RATP (External link) websites.

Wearing a mask is compulsory in taxis and rideshares.

Consult Covid-19 FAQs on the French government website here (External link) .

Travelling to Corsica

A specific system has been put in place for travel to Corsica.

A negative RT-PCR or antigen test result from up to 72 hours before departure is mandatory for all travellers over 11 years old. The latter will have to present a 'declaration of honour' (sworn statement) to the transport company confirming that they have fulfilled the test obligation. In this document, passengers must also certify that they have no symptoms of Covid-19 and that they are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case within the 14 days before departure.

The declaration can be downloaded from the Corsica Regional Health Agency website. (External link)

Travelling to French overseas territories and departments

Specific measures are in place for the French overseas departments and territories. Since January 31, travel has only been permitted on compelling grounds.

A negative PCR test result up to 72 hours old must be shown before boarding a flight to these areas.

In line with the curfew-related travel restrictions in France, people travelling to an airport to catch a flight to the overseas territories must be able to present their plane ticket alongside a document justifying this travel.

The Ministry of Overseas Territories encourages travellers to check the website of the prefecture or high commission for the latest restrictions in place overseas.

International travel

Travellers to or from countries outside the European area:

As part of the state of health emergency in France, entry into the national territory from countries other than those of the European area (Member States of the European Union as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Vatican and Switzerland) and other than Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Singapore is only allowed on the basis of compelling reasons.

These overriding reasons do not apply to French people, their spouses and children, nor to nationals of the European area as well as to their spouses and children who have their main residence in France or who are traveling in transit through France to their main residence in a country in the European area or in the country of which they are nationals.

To attest to one of these compelling reasons, a declaration of honour can be downloaded from the Ministry of the Interior website. (External link) It must be presented to the transport company upon boarding the flight and must be accompanied by the appropriate supporting documents.

Travellers to or from countries within the European area:

Any traveller whatever their mode of transport (air, sea or land) of 11 years or more wishing to reach France from a country in the European area (European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Vatican and Switzerland) has the obligation to present the result of a biological virological screening examination (RT-PCR) not concluding a contamination by COVID-19 carried out 72 hours before departure.

By way of derogation, this obligation does not apply to:

  • travel by residents of border living areas within a radius of 30 km (18 miles) around their home for a period of less than 24 hours;
  • business trips whose urgency or frequency is incompatible with the performance of such a test;
  • travel by road transport professionals in the exercise of their activity.

On arrival in France, travellers are strongly recommended to self-isolate for seven days, and then take a second RT-PCR test at the end of this period.

Additional information on border health checks are available here (External link) .

Consult the websites of the prefectures or local authorities for more details.

Also visit the website of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (External link) .

What are the preventative actions to take to limit the spread of the virus?

There are simple actions to protect your health and the health of those around you:

  • Wash your hands very regularly;
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow;
  • Use disposable tissues and throw them away;
  • Greet others without shaking hands and avoid hugs;
  • Wear a mask if you feel ill;
  • Wear a mask in enclosed public places, on public transport, in taxis and rideshares, in shops, and in any other places deemed necessary by the prefects of each department depending on the local health situation.