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Covid-19: Rules for New Year celebrations in France

The government recommends people stay at home this New Year's Eve and not run the risk of spreading the virus

This December 31 will be unlike any other in recent years in France, with the country under curfew from 20h on December 31 until 06h on January 1.

There will be no big street party on the Champs-Elysée at the end of 2020, nor any other mass-participant event to mark the turn of the year. More than 100,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilised to ensure the strict rules are respected. 

The curfew that has been in force in France since December 15 which was briefly lifted on December 24 to allow family get-togethers, will remain in full force on New Year's Eve, on pain of a €135 fine for anyone caught outside without a valid exemption form.

The recommendation is that you remain at home, and celebrate this New Year quietly. But it is, however, possible to celebrate New Year with a small number of friends and family, if you must. As the Ile de France prefecture said, "private parties organised in homes cannot be prohibited".

If private gatherings are permitted, it is "imperative that you limit the number of people at the table and avoid too many gatherings", warned Prime Minister Jean Castex on December 10. "The objective ... is to limit the number of people present as much as possible".

That means you can visit another household to mark New Year with them, as long as you arrive before 20h on New Year's Eve, and stay until at least 06h on New Year's Day. 

If you are hosting a get-together, ventilate all rooms for a minimum of 10 minutes every hour, wear masks, and respect social distancing. As with Christmas, a maximum number of six adults is recommended.

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