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Boosters, UK travel, masks: February dates for Covid changes in France

Rules will be updated on five separate dates and include changes around booster doses

Masks will no longer be mandatory in outdoor public spaces from February 2, in one of a number of rule changes taking place this month Pic: Karen Maze / Shutterstock

The month of February brings with it a series of rule changes with regards to Covid, from the relaxation of mask-wearing restrictions to the lifting of test requirements for people travelling to the UK.

We take a look at what people living in or visiting France should bear in mind in the coming weeks.

From February 1:

People over 18 travelling between France and the rest of the EU will need to think about having a booster vaccine dose - received at most nine months after their initial vaccinations - if they wish to maintain their ease of travel.

The rule comes as part of an update to the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) scheme, and was announced on December 21. 

Previously, there was no EU-wide policy on expiry dates for Covid vaccines. Some countries, such as Italy (six months) and France (seven months, set to become four months from February 15), have already introduced their own expiry dates that apply domestically. 

Read more about this update here: Booster Covid jab now needed within nine months for easier EU travel

From February 2: 

  • Masks will no longer be mandatory outside (they remain obligatory on public transport and in indoor public spaces). Prefectures will be in charge of setting this rule
  • Remote working where possible for three days a week will cease to be mandatory, although it will remain recommended
  • The capacity limit at sports and cultural events will be lifted when the audience is seated (however masks must be worn in these events). Crowd limits had previously been set at 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors

From February 11: 

Day two testing requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals into the UK will be lifted.

This means that people who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to carry out a lateral flow or PCR test on or before day two after they enter the UK and will only have to complete their passenger locator form.

Testing requirements will also ease slightly for unvaccinated travellers. 

Read more about this update here: France-UK travel: Day two tests for vaccinated to end February 11

From February 15:

Rules around obtaining a vaccine pass in France will be updated

From this date, the deadline for receiving a booster Covid jab after a second dose will shorten from seven months to four months for people who wish to have a vaccine pass.

Booster shots are available three months after the second dose.

People who receive their first vaccine dose before February 15 can get a vaccine pass immediately, if they also get a negative Covid test (which will remain valid for 24 hours), and commit to getting a second dose within one month.

The validity period of Covid recovery certificates - which are positive test results from more than 11 days before - will also from this day be shortened to four months, as opposed to six currently. 

The time period will also be backdated. 

It means that if you tested positive on January 1 and you are using the result as part of your vaccine pass, then the pass will stop being active on May 1. 

Read more about this update here: Covid recovery proof valid for four months from February 15

Home Covid tests

Also on this day, home Covid tests will no longer be sold in supermarkets in France. The government had extended the sale of these tests in supermarkets by two weeks. 

Read more about this here: Home Covid tests to stay in French supermarkets until February 15

From February 16:

  • Nightclubs will reopen. The government has not yet decided if masks must be worn in nightclubs when they reopen. The health situation at the time will dictate the exact rules for this and for entry to the clubs.
  • Standing concerts will be allowed again
  • The consumption of drinks while standing in bars or cafes will be authorised once again

Related articles

‘Fully vaccinated’: does meaning vary in France depending on context?

France’s vaccine pass launches: How and where is it being used?

France updates travel list: Australia drops to amber as Covid spreads

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