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France lockdown: More details of November 28 changes

Prime Minister Jean Castex, alongside other key ministers, provided clarity on France’s three-step process to ease confinement at a press conference on Thursday

The first phase of France’s gradual deconfinement will begin on Saturday, November 28, when shops and services will resume and exercise limits will be expanded. 

At a press conference on Thursday morning (November 26), key government ministers outlined further details on how that will work.

Shops and businesses

All shops that were classified as non-essential will be permitted to re-open, with strict sanitary protocols applied, until latest 21:00.  

This will include libraries, bookshops, clothes shops, toy shops, flower shops etc. Also included will be hairdressers and beauticians. 

Not included in this are cinemas, theatres, museums, cafés, restaurants, bars. 

Alain Griset, the minister for small-and-medium enterprises, said on Thursday that the "will to work" of the traders and craftsmen "has been at the heart of their demands and our concerns, since the beginning of the second confinement".

Shops and businesses will have to limit the number of customers to one every eight square metres. 

This rule should be applied with common sense, Mr Griset said.

“When a couple or a parent with their child enters a business, they will count as one person.”

Shops of more than 400 square metres will have to employ a "counter", who will ensure the number of customers does not exceed the capacity. 

France’s economy minister Bruno Le Maire has said that he is in favour of shops being allowed to open every Sunday in the lead up to Christmas. 

It will be up to individual city authorities to permit this. 

Shops have also agreed to push back Black Friday by one week. 

The Black Friday sales event takes place online and in shops every year the day after Thanksgiving in the US. This year’s Black Friday would normally have been held on Friday, November 27. It will now be held on December 4. 

Driving schools can resume from Saturday. Theory tests will continue to be done remotely. 

Property visits by letting agents can also resume on Saturday. 

Exemption forms

The system of exemption certificates (attestations de déplacement) will remain, meaning that anyone going out to exercise or shop will need to complete one. 

It is thought they will be updated before Saturday to reflect the new measures. 

Sport and exercise

People will now be allowed to exercise each day for up to three hours (this includes any travel time) within 20 kilometres of their home.

This does not allow for people to visit family members or friends at their homes, Mr Castex said. 

This rule replaces the current measure which allows people to exercise for one hour daily, within one kilometre of their home.

How to calculate your 20km exercise zone

Inter-regional travel will still be prohibited. 

On sports, Mr Castex said, "you will be able to run in a public area or practise your individual sport in an open stadium or sports ground, such as tennis, horse riding, athletics or golf". 

Individual hunting, fishing and swimming will also be permitted.

Team sports remain prohibited, except for professionals.

Gyms and sports halls are closed until January 20, 2021. 

Religious services 

Services at places of worship can resume from Saturday, with a strict limit of a maximum of 30 people. 

This could evolve in the future, depending on the venue's overall capacity.


Libraries and archive centres and music shops are to open. However, cinemas, theatres and museums are still closed until December 15. 

Work from home

Mr Castex said that “working from home will remain the rule” until at least January 20, 2021.

Read more:

President Macron: 3-step end of lockdown starts Saturday

Restaurants in France wait for January reopening

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