France curfew: 12 of your most asked questions answered
A rundown of the rules on walking dogs, catching flights, playing sports, dining out (and in) and more that will apply in areas with curfew measures.
President Emmanuel Macron announced the introduction of a curfew in the region of Ile-de-France and eight other cities around the country, which will come into effect from midnight tonight.
In total it will affect 19.2 million people, French newspaper Le Monde reported. That is around 30% of the French population.
When will it actually begin?
The measures will apply from midnight tonight (Friday, October 16).
That means that if you go out tonight in one of the areas where there is a curfew, you must be home by midnight.
After that, the curfew will be in place between 21:00 to 06:00.
How long will curfew measures be in place?
The curfew will be in place for a minimum of four weeks, but both Mr Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex have stated that the government will seek to extend it two more weeks, pending parliament approval.
This means it could be in place until December 1.
Is the curfew in place in all of France?
No. Currently it applies to the region of Ile-de-France and eight other cities: Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.
Other major cities such as Bordeaux, Nantes, Strasbourg and Nice remain curfew-free, for the moment.
If the health situation changes, "some areas may join the list of those currently under curfews," health minister Olivier Véran said. It is also possible that cities will be removed from the list if the coronavirus situation improves.
Are there exceptions to the curfew?
People in the areas where the measures are in place will still be able to go out in the curfew hours in the following circumstances:
- Health reasons: To go to the hospital or to buy medicine in a pharmacy
- Professional reasons: If you work at night or if your working hours do not allow you to be at home at 21:00
- If you have to go to a relative in a situation of dependency
- To take your pet out for a walk in the area near to your home
- If you have to catch a train or plane after 21:00
- Certain useful establishments will remain open: Health, medical and social care establishments, care homes for the most vulnerable, hotels, restaurants that deliver home deliveries, and public establishments that provide evening and night services, such as police stations, etc.
Will there be attestations de déplacement (exemption forms) as there were during the lockdown?
Yes. For anyone who needs to break curfew, they should have with them a form giving the reason why they are out. It will be possible to present this digitally or on paper.
For anyone who needs to take a plane or train during curfew hours, it will be possible to show a ticket as proof. It is not yet known if this is the same for people taking a bus.
It will also be possible to complete a certificate by hand on plain paper, especially for older people or those who do not have a computer or printer.
The government has announced that the forms will be available on its website at an unspecified time today (Friday). There is also a toll-free number to call to ask for advice: 0 800 130 00.
Is travel between regions in France now forbidden?
"There will be no restrictions on public transport", as was the case during the spring lockdown, said Mr Macron.
In addition, "we will not prevent people...from going on holiday," he said, promising that there would be no restriction on travel between regions.
"Asking people to stay at home in flats and not to go on holiday, frankly, would be disproportionate,” he said.
He did advise people who travel to respect barrier gestures (hand-washing, sneezing into elbows, social distancing, etc) and the rules for wearing masks.
Can I go out to do sports after 21:00 in the areas with a curfew?
This is reserved for professional sportsmen and women, such as footballers, whose matches often take place in the evening and will be allowed, but behind closed doors. Amateur clubs will not receive any dispensation, according to the newspaper L'Equipe. Sports halls will remain closed.
Are you allowed to walk your dog after 21:00?
Yes. But dog walkers are expected to remain relatively close to their house and to not use dog walking to serve other purposes, such as meeting up with friends, etc.
What is the penalty for breaking the curfew?
Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said that there would be a €135 fine for anyone caught breaking curfew.
He added, “if ever there should be a repeat offence, i.e. if the police catch a person who cheats or does not comply with these rules three times, a sentence of six months imprisonment is possible as well as a fine of €3,750," he said.
He also said 12,000 police officers would be deployed specifically to enforce curfew measures.
Is it still possible to go to the cinema or the theatre?
Yes, but they will have to close at 21:00.
It may be possible for people to attend shows that finish at 21:00 and then return home after, according to newspaper Le Monde. It reported that this “decision is being debated” by the government.
What about bars and restaurants?
Bars will remain completely closed in the curfew areas. Restaurants will be able to remain open until 21:00.
Are home food deliveries still allowed after 21:00?
Yes. Mr Castex stated that restaurants offering home delivery "will escape early closure".