Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: France to lift COVID-19 travel restriction, reopen certain businesses and facilities from June 2. Other restrictions remain in force.

This alert affects France

This alert began 28 May 2020 21:56 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions remain

Summary
Authorities in France plan to lift the nation's existing internal travel restriction as of June 2; the measure, which entered into effect May 11 as part of France's effort to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), prohibited residents from traveling further than 100 km (60 miles) of their homes. Travel between Metropolitan France and overseas territories, however, remains suspended except for urgent health, family, or business purposes.

Additionally, bars, cafes, and restaurants will be allowed to fully open nationwide, except in the Ile-de-France region, where only outdoor areas of such establishments may reopen. All museums, monuments, and beaches are allowed to reopen nationwide; gyms and swimming pools may also reopen except in Ile-de-France. Parks and public gardens in Ile-de-France will be permitted to reopen in Ile de France, after having already done so elsewhere in the country in early May. Secondary schools and colleges nationwide will also reopen from June 2.

A nationwide state of health emergency remains in force until at least July 10. French air and land borders will remain closed until at least June 15; most travelers are being denied entry, and persons with a valid reason for traveling to France are required to fill out a health declaration form before entering. Repatriation flights are continuing. From June 15, all persons, including French nationals, entering France from a country with a high rate of disease activity will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Travelers arriving from the EU, the Schengen Area, or the UK will be exempt.

Some businesses, shops, and public spaces have been permitted to resume operations provided they can implement social distancing measures. Urban public transport services have increased, though inter-regional public transport will remain severely limited, and all passengers are required to wear protective face coverings. Gatherings are limited to 10 people until at least June 22; large shopping centers, as well as entertainment venues, will remain closed.

Authorities could reintroduce, ease, or otherwise amend restrictions at any time based upon disease activity; local governments have the authority to tighten or loosen restrictions at their own discretion. As of May 28, all departments in Metropolitan France, with the exception of the Ile-de-France region, are rated "green" on the nation's three-tiered color-coded COVID-19 activity scale, indicating the lowest rates of infection. Ile-de-France is ranked in the orange (median) tier for disease activity.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the French authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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