France second lockdown: Your questions answered

Can I get a haircut? Can my family visit at Christmas? Will cycling for exercise be banned? We unravel France’s second lockdown

29 October 2020
A woman in lockdown stares on the window. France will re-enter lockdown on Friday and it will remain in place until at least December 1, 2020
By Thomas Brent

President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that from midnight Thursday France will head into a second national lockdown in order to stem the flow of coronavirus. 

But this lockdown is not identical to the Spring lockdown that lasted between mid-March to mid-May. We try to answer your questions about how this second confinement will affect you. 

I’m not in France right now but that’s where my home is. Will I still be allowed to travel home?

Precise details on this are yet to be announced, and should be clarified by Prime Minister Jean Castex this evening. 

What we know from Mr Macron’s speech is that France's “internal borders within the European area will remain open and with few exceptions the external borders will remain closed".

So, it could be that movement is still allowed between countries in the European area (The EU plus countries such as the UK, Switzerland, Iceland, etc.) 

If you are a French resident, then you should have no problems returning to France.

If not, it could be more complicated.

During the previous confinement there were strict restrictions on who could come to France and for what reasons. 

The Connexion team is looking into this matter and will follow up on it soon. 

Can people travel back to the UK or their home country?

Yes. Transport services will remain open so this will be possible. 

Will my British family be able to come here for Christmas? 

As explained above, it is not yet clear what the rules will be for travelling to France during the lockdown. 

The confinement measures are set to remain in place until at least December 1, but could be prolonged. 

If they are extended over the Christmas period it could prevent people visiting on holiday. 

The president of the Conseil Scientifique in France, Jean-François Delfraissy, told radio station France Inter:

“The end of year celebrations will be in small groups, probably under curfew. A third wave cannot be excluded."

Will I need to fill out an attestation to collect my kids from school?

Yes. 

Can we use the attestation on a smartphone again?

Yes. The new attestation forms have not yet been made available but should be later today. You will be able to access them through the Covid-19 tracing app TousAntiCovid, or via the Ministry of Interior’s website. 

You will also be able to get a printable paper copy, or, like last time, if you do not have access to a smartphone or printer, you will be able to write an attestation by hand on a blank piece of paper, including the details found on the normal form. 

What about dentist or orthodontist appointments? Physical therapy sessions? Or non-urgent doctor appointments that are already scheduled?

What we know so far is that online consultations will be advised. However, in case of a more pressing matter, like severe toothache or breaking your glasses, it will be possible to get an appointment. 

The best step is to phone your dentist, physical therapist, optometrist, etc. and discuss with them how to proceed. 

More details should be given on this tonight. 

What about post offices?

These will remain open.

Can I go to the hairdressers?

Unfortunately, these are deemed non-essential and will close. The Connexion team is hearing reports of hairdressers being fully booked today. 

Does the exercise limit of one hour and one kilometre from home still apply? 

Just like in the Spring, this rule will once again apply. 

Will cycling for exercise be banned during lockdown like last time?

If you remain within one kilometre of your home, it will be permitted. Using bicycles is encouraged as a means of transport. 

What about the curfew?

The lockdown measures render the curfew measures obsolete. 

I did not understand about the télétravail (work from home). Is it mandatory or just encouraged?

Working from home will be extended but "activity will continue with greater intensity" than in March and April, Mr Macron said in his speech on Wednesday. 

We can take it to mean that if you can work from home, do it, if you absolutely cannot, then you will be able to continue going to work with an attestation. 

I live in Nice but I am currently on holiday in Montpellier. I have my hotel booked until Sunday. Can I return home then?

Yes. Travel between regions is now banned, but there is an exception for this weekend only for those returning home from holidays. 

Will pupils be able to go to school full-time, or should we expect some home schooling?

The major difference between this lockdown and the previous one is that schools will remain open. 

"Our children must not be permanently deprived of education," Mr Macron said in his speech.

Nurseries, primary schools and high schools will remain open during this new confinement. Universities will have to give their courses online. 

In addition, Mr Castex looks set to announce this evening that children from six years old will be obliged to wear masks in schools.

Will school buses still run?

This is not yet clear. However, all transport will remain open so that should include school buses. 

What shops are non-essential? 

Restaurants, bars, cafés, cinemas, toy shops...there will be a big list. 

As for flower shops, they have until Sunday and then they must close. The extension is thought to be in place to allow the shops to sell stock rather than letting the flowers die. 

A little bit of trivia: During the Toussaint holidays, chrysanthemums are popular as the holiday is a celebration of the dead and these flowers are traditionally placed on graves.

Bakers, butchers, fish shops, green grocers, supermarkets, car repair shops, news agents, computer and phone repair shops, dry cleaners, hotels, open-air markets etc will remain open.

If you have any more questions please send them to questions@connexionfrance.com and we will do our best to answer.

Read more: 

France to re-enter lockdown from Friday

France lockdown: What is open and what is not?

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