The map shows most of the country in green, except for the northeast quarter and the Ile-de-France region, which are in red (as is the overseas department island of Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean, due to a spike in cases there).
The regions of Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand Est, and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté are in red.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised a “very gradual” deconfinement, and said: “The country is divided in two...We are rolling out deconfinement across the majority of mainland France, but certain departments have less positive results."
How are the colours decided?
Mr Philippe explained: “In the majority of the country, we have successfully slowed down the epidemic; we have successfully found room to manoeuvre in hospitals, and we are ready for testing. That is what we mean when we call a department ‘green’.
“In other departments, the virus is still actively circulating, [and] hospitals are still under pressure. That is what we mean when we call a department ‘red’.”
In green departments, the virus is no longer actively circulating. Hospitals have capacity in intensive care, and there are enough Covid-19 tests for people who need them.
In red departments, the virus is still actively present. The number of people being admitted to hospital and intensive care - within the last seven days - is still putting the health system under pressure when compared to normal times. These departments may also have a lack of tests.
Before this official red and green, two-colour map was published, the government had previously published some three-colour maps that also had “orange” departments. These were mainly areas whose health services and intensive care units were still under pressure, said health minister Olivier Véran.
The main metric for deciding if a department is red or green is the pressure faced by its intensive care units. A department that has 5.9% (or less) intensive care admissions for Covid-19-related causes is coloured green.
Departments can change colour from one day to the next, if the government believes it is necessary. A map update will be delivered every evening by director general for health, Jérôme Salomon, in his usual daily press conferences.
Red or green: What rules apply?
Some measures will apply everywhere, regardless of colour. For example, from May 11, everyone will be allowed to travel within a 100km radius of their home, and an attestation form will only be required for people travelling further than that for “imperative” family or work reasons.
Beware: the 100km radius distance that will be used by police officers checking your journey will be “as the crow flies”, and not 100km on the roads themselves, said a letter dated May 7, from Mr Philippe to local authorities.
Journeys within departments will not be subject to checks.
However, Mr Veran has recommended that people “avoid journeys between spread-out areas, [especially between departments] that are very different when it comes to the virus circulation”.
Most shops will reopen everywhere, as will hairdressing salons and barbers (but not cafés, bars, or restaurants).
But in some cases, in the red areas of the map, there will be more stringent rules in place.
These will include:
Public parks and gardens
These will only reopen in green departments. Some mayors in red areas, including Anne Hidalgo in Paris, have called on the government to allow special “breathing spaces” for residents despite this rule, but the government has not yet agreed to this.
In red areas, all public parks and gardens will remain shut.
Schools and collèges
Almost 90% of primary schools will reopen on May 11, regardless of department colour. Teachers will begin on Monday, with pupils going in from Tuesday.
Nonetheless, there will be restrictions – at any one time there should be no more than 15 children per class in école élementaire and 10 at maternelle (the youngest children).
In green departments, only students in classes cinquième or sixième will return to collège at first, from May 18. Older students will have to wait longer.
In red departments, collèges will remain shut for everyone.
Health minister Mr Véran has not ruled out the possibility of re-closing schools and “if necessary, closing a certain number of shops or outside areas”, depending on how the situation progresses.
Lycées, cafés and restaurants
For some, major differences between green and red departments may only become apparent in the second phase of confinement, depending on how well the first stage goes.
At the end of May, the government plans to re-evaluate the restrictions that will still be in place, with a view to loosening them at the beginning of June, if appropriate.
The government is aiming for a department to have three good consecutive weeks of “green” before progressing to the next stage.
If all goes well, this will notably include the reopening of cafés and restaurants.
College students in troisième and quatrième will also be allowed back to class, while lycées will also begin to reopen, starting with professional lycées.
Yet, even at this stage, departments that are still coloured in red will still be subject to tight restrictions, and cafés, restaurants and lycées will remain shut in those areas.
- Deconfinement in France: PM details plan
- Deconfinement in France: schools and transport plan
- Will France introduce Covid-19 ‘immunity passports’?
- Macron: ‘Too early to say’ if summer holidays possible
- Deconfinement in France: What is allowed from May 11
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France