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Covid France: Fine overturned for worker who went out without form

Man showed police his work timetable with a meeting scheduled during curfew. His lawyers argued a form in addition should not be needed

1 April 2021
A policeman checks an attestation form in Bordeaux. Covid France: Fine overturned for worker who went out without formA policeman checking an man's attestation form in Bordeaux during the first confinement
By Joanna York

Police courts have cancelled a €135 fine given to a man while he was travelling for a work meeting after curfew hours.

The man had a valid reason for leaving the house under the curfew rules, but was not carrying a travel exemption form with him as he was supposed to. 

The 29-year-old, from Bayonne, in south-west France, was stopped by police in December 2020 after he had just parked his car.

While he did not have a travel exemption form, he did show officers his work timetable which showed he had a meeting after curfew, which at the time began at 18:00. 

Police still issued the man with a fine for €135.

Fine overturned by courts

But a court in Bayonne ruled that, as the man had a legitimate reason to be outside even without an exemption form, the fine should be cancelled.

Lawyer Sébastien Binet said: “What should be forbidden is going out without a legitimate reason, not whether or not people have travel exemption forms.

“Individuals can use any means they have to justify the legitimacy of their reason for being outside.”

What are valid reasons for being outside after curfew?

Curfew rules are currently in place from 19:00-06:00 seven days a week throughout France.

The existing curfew rules will not change when new rules to stop the spread of the virus are introduced in France from Saturday April 3.

Valid reasons for being outside your home after curfew include:

  • Going to work, school or training courses
    You are allowed to travel between your home and your place of work or education if it is unavoidable
  • Medical appointments
    You can go to check-ups, examinations, preventative procedures, for treatments that cannot be done virtually and to buy health products
  • Urgent family reasons 
    These include including looking after vulnerable people and children
  • Administrative or legal summons
    You can also travel to appointments with a legal professional that cannot be done remotely
  • Appointments with administrative authorities 
    If requested by an administrative authority, you can attend appointments
  • Being disabled or accompanying a disabled person
    People with disabilities and their carers have extra allowance to leave the house
  • Transit for long-distance travel 
    This includes travelling home from the airport, train or bus station, of travelling between transit centres during a journey
  • Taking a pet outside
    Short trips within a 1km radius of the home are allowed

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