Quarantine rules in the UK, intended to be implemented on Monday (June 8), are expected to be made less strict, sources have told the BBC. This may open up a pathway for travellers from the UK to visit France without quarantine restrictions.
France is currently operating under a voluntary quarantine policy, which means all visitors to France are asked to quarantine for two weeks.
However, these rules should lift as the country enters its second stage of deconfinement in June and allows increased travel freedoms.
No quarantine for EU visitors
At present, France’s borders remain closed to foreign visitors, with few exceptions. Travel is permitted for professionals such as cross-border workers, French citizens, people with a primary residence in France, or those travelling for essential family reasons.
Anyone who does wish to travel to France from overseas must complete a form explaining a valid reason for travel.
But this is expected to change for travel from most European countries from June 15, as Prime Minister Edouard Philippe indicated he would like to welcome European visitors to France, with no quarantine restrictions.
He tweeted: “Inside Europe, the epidemic is slowing down. France will look favourably on the reopening of interior borders in Europe from June 15, if the health situation permits, with no quarantine for visitors from European countries.”
À l’intérieur de l’Europe, l’épidémie ralentit : la France sera favorable à une réouverture des frontières intérieures de l’Europe à compter du 15 juin si la situation sanitaire le permet, sans quatorzaine pour les voyageurs en provenance de pays européens. #déconfinement— Edouard Philippe (@EPhilippePM) May 28, 2020
Reciprocal quarantine for UK visitors
While this may become a general rule for European visitors from June 15, France is also still operating a "reciprocal" quarantine policy.
This means that quarantine restrictions will be placed on visitors to France coming from countries that have their own quarantine rules for French visitors.
This currently includes the UK, who plans to introduce its own quarantine measures on all overseas visitors including those from France, from June 8.
It also includes Spain, who are currently imposing 14-day quarantines on all visitors, including those from Europe.
Current UK quarantine plans
If the UK does not relax its quarantine rules the following plans will come into effect from June 8.
- People arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train must self-isolate for 14 days, with the exemption of some professionals (such as lorry drivers, seasonal farm workers and healthcare professionals).
- Visitors must not go to work, school, or public areas, or use public transport or taxis. They should not have any visitors unless they are providing essential support, and should not go out to buy food or other essentials if possible.
- Visitors to the UK will have to inform the government of where they will be staying. In England, visitors may be subject to spot checks with fines of £1,000 for those found breaking their quarantine.
The finer details of the plan, such as whether visitors would be allowed to take public transport to their quarantine accommodation, are set to be decided this week.
UK quarantine rules
However, the UK’s 14-day quarantine plans are under debate, and already likely to be relaxed sources have told the BBC.
Relaxing these rules may mean expanding the list of workers who do not have to quarantine upon arrival, or opening up travel corridors to countries with low infection rates.
If the UK does relax its quarantine rules, it is expected that France would reciprocate, and relax rules for UK visitors mean that holidays in France may be possible in the next few months.
The sources have suggested that UK rules could be relaxed as soon as July 20, in time for the summer holidays.
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