Covid France: How restaurants, shops, museums will reopen from May 19

We explain the details for reopening restaurant terraces, shops, cinemas and museums on May 19, and plans for further reopenings in June

11 May 2021
Customers on a restaurant terrace in Paris. Covid France: How restaurants, shops, museums will reopen from May 19

Restaurant terraces will reopen from May 19, with maximun capacity of 50% and tables of up to six customers Pic: Peter Nijenhuis / Flickr

By Joanna York

Prime Minister Jean Castex has outlined the next steps of a “gradual, cautious and guided” deconfinement in France, which will begin on May 19.

From this date restaurant terraces, shops, cinemas and museums will reopen, with health protocols in place.

This will be followed by further lifting of restrictions on June 9 and June 30. 

Speaking to Le Parisien on May 10, Mr Castex said: “I’m saying clearly, we are finally beginning to permanently leave the health crisis behind. We are almost there, and that is good news.”

We explain the details for each date.

May 19

  • Restaurants, cafes and bars will be able to reopen outdoor terraces at 50% capacity. Tables can have a maximum of six people, who must stay seated.
  • Shops selling items considered non-essential will reopen, with a maximum capacity of one customer per 8m2. Capacity will be the same for covered markets, with outside markets allowed to have one customer per 4m2.
  • Museums will reopen with a maximum capacity of one visitor per 8m2. 
  • Cinemas and event venues will reopen with a maximum capacity of 35% or up to 800 spectators. This rule also applies to venues for celebrations and multi-purpose halls.
  • Religious ceremonies and civil marriages can take place with attendees spaced one in three seats, staggered between rows.
  • Sports halls and swimming pools can reopen for ‘priority visitors’ such as children, with a maximum capacity of 35%, and up to 800 spectators.

June 9

  • Restaurants, cafes and bars can fully reopen terraces with a maximum of six guests at each table. Interior spaces can reopen with a maximum capacity of 50%, and up to six people at each table. 
  • Shops and covered markets will be able to welcome more customers with maximum capacity increasing to one customer per 4m2. Outdoor markets will not have a customer limit.
  • Museums will also see the maximum capacity limit increase to one visitor per 4m2.
  • Cinemas and live event venues will be able to operate to 65% of full capacity, with a maximum limit of up to 5,000 spectators. Health passes will be needed for events with more than 1,000 attendees. The same rules will be applied to venues for celebrations, and multi-purpose halls.

Read more: Will France’s health pass collect my private information?

  • Religious ceremonies and civil marriages will be able to have one attendee in every other seat.
  • Sports halls and swimming pools will be able to accept all visitors for non-contact sports, with a maximum 50% capacity. The capacity for spectators will increase to 65% or up to 5,000 people, with a health pass needed for events with more than 1,000 people.

June 30

  • Restaurants, cafes and bars can open without capacity limits, as long as barrier gestures and social distancing are maintained. Health protocols will be defined closer to the date.
  • Shops and covered markets should be able to remove capacity limits.
  • Cinemas and live event venues can also remove capacity limits, as long as barrier gestures and social distancing are maintained. Health passes will be needed for events with more than 1,000 spectators.
  • Religious ceremonies and civil marriages can have attendees in every seat.
  • Sports halls and swimming pools can open at full capacity for all sports. Health passes will be needed for events with over 1,000 people.
  • Concerts with standing room and festivals can restart, with a maximum number of visitors to be specified at a later date. Health passes will be needed for events with more than 1,000 people. Festivals will have a maximum capacity of 4m2 per participant.

Related stories

Covid-19 France: How do I get a vaccination certificate?

EU health pass: On track for Europe summer travel from June

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Brexit and Beyond for Britons in France*
Featured Help Guide
What the Brexit deal means for UK residents of France, second homeowners and visitors in 2021 and after
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now