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12 questions on France's easing of lockdown measures

Can I return to my second home? Can my family visit me for Christmas? Can my hairdresser come round? We have the answers

A three-step plan intended to bring France out of lockdown began on Saturday, November 28, with shops reopening and daily exercise limits extending. 

Two further phases have been outlined that will take France out of lockdown on December 15 and then see restaurants and cafés reopen on January 20, 2021. 

We answer some of the most-asked questions on the new measures. 

Can we leave to go on holiday abroad after December 15? 

Yes. If the Covid-19 situation is under control, from December 15 you will be able to move freely around France and also travel abroad.

It is important to check the destination country’s travel restrictions and also to keep up to date with France’s restrictions before you return.

Can my friends, who live in the UK, come to visit me for Christmas?

Yes. If France’s lockdown is dropped and replaced with a curfew on December 15, this will be possible. 

They will have to respect curfew rules. 

Can I now return to my second home in France?

From December 15, it will be possible to return to your second home in France. 

How many people can we invite over for Christmas dinner? And are they allowed to stay later than 21:00?

France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex has asked for people to "limit the number of people at the table" because these "moments of festive and friendly gatherings, where one lowers one's guard… are particularly risky". 

He did not give an exact number, but said that “concrete recommendations” would be announced before the Christmas holidays. 

It is worth remembering that the curfew will be lifted on December 24 and December 31 only. So, if you are hosting a dinner party on December 25, all of your guests will have to be home before curfew at 21:00. 

We are planning to drive back to the UK on December 20, when a 21:00 to 07:00 curfew will be in place. Can we set off before 07:00?

If you are planning to leave your home before 07:00 in order to catch a train or ferry, this should be an acceptable reason. Keep your travel ticket in a convenient place to show you if asked why you are out of the house.

Can my home hairdresser come to my house again? 

Yes. From Saturday, November 28, all shops and services will reopen. This includes home services such as hairdressers, cleaners, etc. 

Equally, hairdressers and beauticians will be able to reopen their shops. 

Will the exemption forms (attestations de déplacement) still be valid from November 28?

Updated forms are now available on the ministry of interior's website here

Can we go beyond 20 kilometres to do shopping?

Yes. Trips for purchases are not limited either in distance or time. For all shops, whether considered essential or not, there should not then be any distance limit. 

Is driving to the forest and then going for a walk acceptable as part of the daily exercise allocation?

Yes, you can take your car to go to the forest and enjoy a walk as part of your daily exercise.

Remember that you must remain within a 20 kilometre radius of your house and stay out no longer than three hours, including the time it takes to drive to and from the place. 

Find out more about how to calculate your 20 kilometre radius here

Can we meet up with friends while out exercising? For example, now that the exercise limit is 20 kilometres / three hours, can I go hiking with friends? 

For the moment, no. Meeting with people in public or at their homes is still forbidden.

The relaxation of exercise limits that came into effect on Saturday, November 28, is not intended to allow visits to family or friends. 

This will be possible from December 15. 

What sports are we now allowed to do?

All individual sports are now allowed, within a three-hour timeframe and 20 kilometre radius of your home. 

This includes jogging, cycling, golf, horse riding, sailing, swimming, fishing, hunting, etc. 

Team and contact sports are still banned until at least January 20.

School children are now allowed to return doing outdoor extracurricular activities. From December 15, this will extend to indoor activities too. 

How likely is it that France will have fewer than 5,000 Covid-19 cases per day by mid-December? And what happens if this target is not met?

France’s lockdown will end on December 15 if the average number of daily Covid-19 cases falls below 5,000 and the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units drops to between 2,500 to 3,000 or lower. 

If this is the case, a 21:00 to 07:00 curfew will be established in place of the lockdown. 

Health minister Olivier Véran said at a press conference on November 26 that "for more than three weeks now, the number of cases has been steadily decreasing.

“At this rate, we could reach our goal of 5,000 cases per day on average by the second week or the end of the second week of December,” he said. 

President Emmanuel Macron said in a speech on November 24 that, “the number of daily positive cases has fallen sharply. It was over 60,000. Last week it averaged 20,000 cases per day."

The government has not yet announced what will happen if the objectives are not met, but it is thought that lockdown measures will be extended.

Read more:

Daily update: Coronavirus and the situation in France

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