Deconfinement in France: PM details plan

Map of the departments in red and green on May 7

Lockdown measures will be eased in France from Monday May 11 as hoped, the prime minster has announced.

The rules explained today are largely as previously announced, though with new details – for example to travel more than 100km leaving your own department, you will need a new kind of attestation form indicating that it is for an urgent work or family reason.

As expected, France has been divided into green (good) or red (bad) areas depending on factors including numbers of new cases of people testing positive for Covid-19, how well the hospitals are coping, and availability of testing.

Areas classed as red are Ile-de-France, Grand Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Hauts-de-France.

In green areas, parks and gardens may reopen and collèges (early age secondary schools) may reopen from May 18.

In red areas collèges will remain closed this month, however in all areas primary schools will reopen in May, in most cases from Monday, though parents can choose whether or not to keep children at home for distance learning.

For the most part however the same rules will apply everywhere.

As expected, most shops may reopen, though not cafés and restaurants, cinemas or salles des fêtes or large museums. Prefectures will establish lists of local cultural facilities such as small museums that may open.

Large shopping centres with more than 40,000m2 of floorspace will be able to open if local prefects agree to it, though not at present in Ile-de-France.

Beaches and lakes and water sports centres will remain closed, unless prefects decide otherwise. Mayors may request to the prefecture that they should reopen if they promise to maintain physical distancing and 'barrier gestures' on the beach.

There will also be a need for particular vigilance in Mayotte and Ile-de-France, the prime minister said, as Covid-19 cases are increasing in the former while in the latter they are not reducing as quickly as had been hoped.

The situation will be reevaluated at the end of May in hopes of further relaxation of rules from June 2. At that stage it is likely that there will be different rules depending on whether a department is green or red, with cafés, restaurants and lycées more likely to reopen in 'green' areas.

In the meantime people should continue to respect 'barrier gestures' such as washing hands regularly, physical distancing etc.

There will be no obligatory confinement for ‘at risk’ groups, and no more attestation forms for ordinary trips outside the home.

However those who know they are likely to be more vulnerable due to advanced age or chronic health conditions should nonetheless continue as far as possible to maintain similar measures to during the confinement period or for example they should use masks if having occasional visitors.

Anyone experiencing likely symptoms such as a persistent dry cough, breathing difficulties or loss of taste or smell should contact their GP, a duty doctor or call 15 (Samu). They may be asked to take a free test in a hospital, test lab, in a drive-through service or at home.

If they test positive their doctor will also alert the Assurance Maladie, who will make enquiries as to those they have had recent contact with. They will be asked to self-isolate until two days after recovery. They should contact their doctor if their symptoms become worse.

People they have had close contact with without wearing masks will be contacted and if necessary will be asked to self-isolate (and will be able to obtain free masks at pharmacies). They will have the option of isolation away from home such as in a hotel room if it is difficult at home.

They will be asked to take sick leave from work if they cannot work from home.

They will be tested seven days after their last contact with the infected person, but even if testing negative will be asked to observe one more week of isolation.

The free number 0800 130 000 remains operational for those with questions related to the epidemic and what you need to do.

With regard to struggling small businesses, the fonds de solidarité help will be renewed for May and employers’ social charges will be cancelled from March to May for all sectors that were forced to close.

Some 70 guides to work sectors will be available from the end of the week on the Work Ministry’s website, as well as a national framework on matters like physical distance at work. Homeworking is still recommended where possible.

Previous articles:

Deconfinement in France: schools and transport plan

Deconfinement in France will be in stages from May 11

Deconfinement in France: Masks, tests and shops

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