French PM clarifies lockdown rules
A fine of €135 will be given to anyone breaking the confinement without good reason – and an exemption form
Prime Minister Jean Castex has provided more details of the national lockdown that is set to come into effect tonight midnight (Thursday October 29).
He was speaking at a press conference attended by several other top ministers after the confinement was announced by President Macron in a televised speech yesterday.
While the rules, and the exemption forms, are in many ways similar to what was in place in the spring, they have been lightened in some respects.
Exemption forms (attestations de déplacement) will be made available on the government website from October 30. If anyone needs to go out they can also write their own on a blank piece of paper. It must be readable, and dated and signed, with a valid reason for being out.
The key reasons for going out with a form include shopping or collecting mail-order items, taking exercise near to home, going to work (or a place of education or training) or coming back from work, an exam, going to a medical appointment or to buy medicines, for 'essential' family reasons such as caring for a child or vulnerable adult, official meetings with legal/administrative officers or taking part in public service on official request.
It will also be possible to take children to and from school and after-school activities, and allowance is made for a general category of 'trips by disabled people and their carers'.
Note that employees going and coming from work will need a seperate justificatif de déplacement professionnel form, stamped by the employer. Those who can work from home are asked to do so.
The self-employed who need to go out for work should use the standard form.
There is also a separate form for travel related to taking children to and from school.
- Crèches, nurseries and schools (primary, collège and lycée) will remain open with reinforced health protocols. However, courses at universities and higher education institutions will have to be provided at distance. The wearing of masks will be extended to children from the age of six
- After-school childcare services will continue, however, extra-curricular sports or arts clubs will stop
- All 'non-essential' businesses and establishments open to the public will have to close in the same way as in the spring, including bars and restaurants
- Chômage partiel (similar to the UK's furlough scheme) will be put in place for businesses unable to open
- The internal borders of the European area will remain open (this includes the UK)
- External borders will be closed, except for EU nationals or residents. Anyone arriving on the territory from outside the European area will have to provide a negative Covid test carried out 72 hours in advance. For those who do not have the result of a test, a test on arrival will be imposed.
- Going out for individual sports or exercise will be possible for one hour within one kilometre of your home
- Parks will remain open
- All transport services will continue to operate
- It will still be possible to visit retirement homes
- Shops closed to customers, including restaurants, will be able to continue to operate for delivery and collection of orders only
- Religious venues will remain open for weddings and funerals, with certain conditions, but ordinary services will not be held, with the exception of certain ceremonies for this weekend (Toussaint)
- The government will update its website with more information in the coming hours, including a complete list of venues that will be closed and the attestations
- Travel between regions is now banned, with the exception of anyone returning home this weekend from holiday
- Home removals are allowed. You will need a letter of proof from removal company.
- Business support: The government is going to devote €6billion per month of confinement to its business solidarity fund. This is the equivalent of what has been paid out since March. The government is planning €7 billion for chômage partiel, €1 billion for exemptions from social security contributions and €1 billion to cover part of companies' rents.
Currently, over 20,000 people are in hospital in France due to Covid-19, with 3,045 of them in intensive care units.
In the past week, France has regularly reported over 30,000 daily new cases of the virus.
A total of 58% of intensive care beds are currently occupied by people with coronavirus.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, France has reported 1,235,132 cases of Covid-19. Over 35,000 people have died from the virus.
Mr Castex was joined at the press conference by Health Minister Olivier Véran, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, Work Minister Elisabeth Borne and Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu.
Ms Borne said: "Employees who can perform all of their tasks at home must do so five days out of five".
Earlier today, the Senate refused to support the reconfinement decided by the government to deal with the pandemic.
The Senate, dominated by the right-wing opposition, voted 178 votes against, 130 in favour and 27 abstentions with regard to Prime Minister Jean Castex's statement to the house on the health crisis.
Shortly before, the MPs had broadly supported the measure decided by the executive: 399 supported the new containment decided by the government and 27 voted against it.
The rejection by the Senate does not affect the measures announced last night by President Macron as the vote related to a statement Mr Castex made earlier in the day and not to a piece of legislation.