Ministers: Holidays in France ‘different’ this summer

Holidays “will be different” in France this summer, with the distances people allowed to travel very much dependent on “the efforts of the French public during deconfinement”, the French government has said.

1 May 2020
So far the government has said that travel will be limited to 100 km from home, with this limit set to be re-evaluated if appropriate
By Connexion journalist

So far, the government has said that after confinement - from May 11 onwards - people will only be allowed to travel within 100km of their home, except for “imperative” family or work reasons. This limit may be re-evaluated at the end of May, depending on the changing situation.

Junior foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told news service BFMTV: “If things go well, more flexible decisions will be taken.”

He added: “These holidays will depend on the efforts we make during this first phase of deconfinement...but these holidays will be different. Because the virus doesn’t take holidays. So we will need to stay very alert.

“From May 11, this deconfinement is being put in place; and we will need cooperation from everyone; respect for the principles that have been announced, to have a [good] summer season that we all want and need, after this traumatic event that we have all been through.”

Questions have already been asked about what constitutes an “imperative” reason, with police saying that “some flexibility” will be needed, pending further details on “the factors for movement and restriction”.

Read more: Reasons for 100km plus travel in France after May 11

Read more: Deconfinement in France: What is reopening when?

The first phase of deconfinement is to begin on May 11, lasting until June 2. Further deconfinement measures will be rolled out in July, August and into September, depending on the situation and the event.

So far, the government has said that from May 11, people will be free to travel - even across department lines - without an attestation form, so long as the journey stays within the 100km limit.

This will especially apply to travel by public transport, such as long-distance trains and buses, a government source told news service FranceInfo on Thursday (April 30).

But in his announcement on Tuesday (April 28), in which he unveiled the government’s deconfinement plans, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe did not specify such precise details.

He said that the government’s aim was to “reduce inter-regional and inter-departmental travel as much as possible, by limiting [long-distance] travel to imperative professional or family reasons only”.

He added that the government was still discouraging people from travelling unnecessarily between departments, and that trains and buses would still need to be “booked in advance” where a journey is strictly necessary.

He said: “This is not the time to leave your department to go on a weekend trip.”

The government has now unveiled the first “green and red” map of France, with each department coded from red to green, depending on how much the virus is still spreading, and the state of the region’s healthcare services.

Deconfinement measures will differ depending on the “colour” of the department, and Mr Philippe did not rule out the need to re-close schools, shops, and other sites if it were to become necessary.

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