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France lockdown: What changes on January 20

Restaurants, cafés and gyms to open as the third phase of a planned three-step easing of confinement will come into effect

President Emmanuel Macron has said that on January 20, 2021, if Covid-related health objectives are met, cafés, restaurants and gyms will be allowed to open again. 

The president made the announcement during a speech on November 24 where he outlined a plan to ease lockdown measures. The first phase begins on November 28 and the second phase on December 15

A second national lockdown was introduced in France on October 30, 2020.  

Health objectives

If the average number of daily Covid-19 cases remains below 5,000, France will move to phase three of its easing of lockdown measures. 

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.


A 21:00 to 07:00 curfew, which is due to come into effect on December 15 if health targets are met, will end. 

With it, the system of exemption certificates (attestations de déplacement) will also end. 

Restaurants and cafés

Restaurants and cafés will be permitted to re-open.

Mr Castex explained the reason for their long closure during his press conference.

“Scientific studies show that these establishments, despite the very demanding protocols and the strong willingness of managers to apply them, remain and will remain places of high viral contamination.”

He said this is because customers have to remove their masks to eat, it is difficult to respect barrier gestures, people stay there “longer than elsewhere” and they are enclosed spaces as terraces are closed during winter. 

Bars and nightclubs

There is currently no date set for the reopening of bars or nightclubs. As restaurants are only opening on January 20, it is thought that bars will not be permitted to open again until at least February 2021. 


Gyms and sports halls will be permitted to reopen.

Outdoor and indoor amateur team sports will also be allowed. Professional team sports have been allowed to continue throughout lockdown. 

Work from home

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

There has been no announcement on rules beyond that.

Read more:

President Macron: 3-step end of lockdown starts Saturday

France lockdown: What changes on December 15

France lockdown: More details of November 28 changes

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