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France lockdown to end December 15, 20:00 curfew to start

Cinemas, theatres, museums will remain closed and the curfew will not be relaxed on December 31 as previously announced

France will end its lockdown on December 15 as planned but new measures, stricter than envisioned in October, will come into force French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday, December 10.

“The health situation has improved considerably over the last few weeks...In France the epidemic is now the best controlled compared to our European neighbours,” Mr Castex said during a televised press conference. 

"But this improvement has been at a standstill for a week. The number of new infections is no longer decreasing and has even tended to increase slightly in the last few days. So the game is far from won."

Mr Castex said that France would not reach its target of an average of 5,000 daily Covid-19 cases by December 15. This was the objective President Emmanuel Macron said the country would need to reach to come out of lockdown when he first announced it at the end of October. 

Key points:

  • A curfew will come into effect from December 15, replacing the lockdown.
  • The curfew will be from 20:00 until 06:00, instead of beginning at 21:00 as previously planned. Mr Castex said, “It will be strictly controlled with limited possibilities for exemption".
  • End of exemption certificates (attestations de déplacement) during the day from December 15. They will still be required for authorised outings between 20:00 to 06:00
  • There will be no exemption to the curfew on December 31 as had previously been stated. There will only be an exemption on December 24
  • Cinemas, theatres, museums, casinos will not reopen on December 15 as planned. The opening has been pushed back three weeks to January 7, 2021.
  • Inter-regional travel will again be allowed from December 15, as planned. 
  • There will be no change to the current rules on places of worship
  • There will be stricter police checks from now, France’s interior minister has stated. Since the beginning of the second lockdown, 2,924,775 police checks have been undertaken.


Mr Castex said, “Christmas occupies a special place in our lives and traditions... We therefore authorise travel for the evening of December 24, but I remind you of the rule I indicated to you last week: no more than six adults at a time."

Health Minister Olivier Véran warned people that getting a Covid test before Christmas meals is still risky and should be avoided. 

He said, “There is a risk that the test will be negative because you are not yet sufficiently contagious.”

“On paper, it may seem like a good idea, but we must also avoid overloading the laboratories, pharmacies and doctors who carry out tests. You can, of course, be tested, but please don’t use the test as some kind of immunity totem.”

The Curfew

There will only be a few accepted reasons to go out during the curfew, including travel between home and work, health reasons or compelling family reasons. Taking a pet for a walk will also be allowed.

Sporting activities will not be allowed between 20:00 and 06:00.

Read more:

Coronavirus, lockdown and new rules in France: Daily updates

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