Moving forward from Covid-19: info on tourism, masks & more
Learn how France is moving forward from the Coronavirus outbreak, plus news on insurance issues, tourism, masks and more.
France opened its borders for travel within Europe on June 15 and life is returning to normal in many ways after the launch of “Phase 3” of deconfinement on June 22. Even so, the UK is maintaining its official blanket advice against foreign travel for “non-essential” reasons. It means most travel insurance policies risk being invalid for Britons coming for a holiday or to visit a second home.
A spokeswoman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “Generally, if you travel against FCO advice, then you are likely to invalidate your cover. This applies to most British travel policies.” The UK will continue its obligatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals until at least June 29. France’s voluntary self-quarantine for visitors from the UK will remain until this ends. Visitors from the UK, however, are being received into hotels, gites and other accommodation without any problems. Travel is picking up, with non-EU travel set to begin gradually from July 1.
What's open in France, what's allowed, and when to wear a mask
Cafes, bars and restaurants are open but masks are required, as they are on all public transport. Shops can require a mask to enter. Beaches are no longer “dynamic”, meaning people had to keep moving – they can now lie down. Casinos, cinemas and stadiums seating fewer than 5,000 are open, and group sports are allowed.
Marriages can take place, though guests must still be able to keep a metre apart. Funerals may go ahead with the restrictions on numbers lifted. The virus is still circulating but is seen as under control, with 715 patients in intensive care (as of June 22), compared to more than 7,000 in April. Seven people died in hospital in 24 hours, compared to more than 600 deaths at the peak. Health Minister Olivier Véran said: “For a large part, the epidemic is behind us.”
New Covid-19 clusters reported
However, 216 new Covid-19 “clusters” have been reported since deconfinement. Health authorities say they are mainly “under control” but the spike prompted a warning that the public must remain vigilant.
France’s scientific advisory council warns that a new rise in cases as winter approaches is “extremely probable”.
Are schools open?
Phase 3 of deconfinement made school obligatory for the last two weeks of term for all pupils other than lycée (older) students. However, headteachers say many children did not return due to it being the end of term, or because families had left on holiday. Others said they “fear consequences of too many children going back”.
Post-health emergency plan
A parliamentary inquiry is asking why France had only 140 million masks in stock, many defective, when the epidemic began, compared to the one billion estimated to be necessary to face potential epidemics. The government reserves the right to maintain or toughen restrictions depending on how the virus evolves after the state of health emergency ends, expected for July 10.