Following a significant increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection rates, authorities in France will further tighten restrictions and introduce a curfew in an additional 38 departments from Oct. 24. A daily 2100-0600 curfew will be in place in Ain, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardeche, Ardennes, Ariege, Aube, Aveyron, Bas-Rhin, Calvados, Corse-du-Sud, Cote-d'Or, Drome, Gard, Hautes-Alpes, Haute-Corse, Haute-Loire, Hautes-Pyrenees, Haute-Savoie, Haute-Vienne, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre-et-Loire, Jura, Loiret, Lozere, Maine-et-Loire, Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Oise, Pas-de -Calais, the Puy-de-Dôme, the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, the Pyrenees-Orientales; Saone-et-Loire, Savoie, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Var, Vaucluse, and French Polynesia. People will be permitted to leave their homes for essential purposes such as hospital visits and critical work duties during curfew hours; however, individuals will need a special permit, which is available on the Ministry of Interior's website. Persons who violate the curfew will face fines of EUR 135 (USD 158) for the first offense and up to EUR 1,500 EUR (USD 1,760) for repeat offenders. These measures remain in effect until at least Dec. 1.
Previously, authorities designated Ile-de-France, which includes Paris, Grenoble, Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Saint-Etienne, Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, and Rouen, as maximum alert zones and introduced the same aforementioned restrictions to these areas Oct. 17. In addition, all bars within the maximum-alert zone must remain closed, and businesses and establishments must implement stricter hygiene requirements. Sports and fitness facilities remain closed.
Authorities have mandated the nationwide use of protective face coverings in enclosed public spaces, including shared workspaces, while a number of local jurisdictions, including Paris, also require their use in outdoor public spaces. Nationwide, public gatherings are limited to six people; festivities are suspended. Most businesses and services, with the exception of those in areas under elevated alert levels, are permitted to resume operations, provided they comply with strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Individuals from different households are required to observe social distancing of at least 1 meter (3 feet). National authorities can increase a region's alert level at short notice, and local authorities in areas with heightened alert levels can implement additional restrictions on movement, gatherings, and businesses as they see fit.
Authorities are maintaining international travel restrictions on most foreign nationals. International arrivals from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, the UK, and Uruguay are permitted to enter without restriction. Most travelers from other locations remain barred from entry, though exceptions are made for French nationals and residents, as well as for persons traveling on what authorities deem to be essential reasons, including certain necessary workers, diplomats, students, and those visiting for urgent family reasons. All such arrivals are required to complete a form declaring themselves to be COVID-19 free and present a certificate declaring their reason for travel.
Permitted travelers arriving from Bahrain, Panama, the UAE, and the US must present proof of having tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to boarding; permitted arrivals from Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, India, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Madagascar, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, and Turkey must meet the same condition or take a test on arrival. Permitted travelers from all other locations are able to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours or take a test on arrival; otherwise, they are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice, depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
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.