On the 12th of March, President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron addressed the country with a televised statement announcing the closure of nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities. This news would be followed the next day by the prohibition of gatherings of more than 100 people…. Two weeks before this Paris had a half-marathon of 44,000 people which was cancelled.
In spite of the closures and cancellations COVID 19 cases spiked dramatically throughout France, forcing more measures and regulations to be taken. On the 17th of March France went into full lockdown and kept civilians on tight restrictions until the 11th of May when phase 1 of the lockdown lift began due to declining numbers of new cases.
France is reopening her doors to tourists now that the crisis is getting under control. Perhaps nothing could be a bigger indicator of France easing up its lockdown than the celebration of the annual Fête de la musique, also known as Music Day. On June 21st the event, which has happened every year since 1982 was able to kick off without a hitch.
Fortunately, the lockdown measures have been effective and the daily cases have seen a sharp decline from about 7,500 new cases per day to just around 450 new cases per day.
What France Looks Like Now
There are still social distancing measures in place, and everyone is still being requested to wear masks (at least indoors), the first steps towards normalcy have been taken. On June 2nd the second phase of the lockdown lift began with restaurants and museums being allowed to re-open throughout France, although they did maintain a ban on indoor dining in restaurants.
As of June 15th, outdoor demonstrations are allowed, as long as social distancing is still practiced, and restaurants and cafés are now allowed to fully open. As of June 22nd, children are obligated to return to school… wearing a mask to school is also obligatory.
According to several news outlets, France was supposed to re-open it’s doors to tourists starting on June 15th, however I haven’t seen any further word on if this happened or not. What we can confirm is that the EU will be opening back up as of July 1st to a small number of countries… The USA is not one of those countries.
The following countries will be able to visit the EU as of July 1st’; Algeria, Australia, the Vatican, Georgia, Rwanda, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Japan, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and Canada.
The Future of France
Going forward, there is no telling when the social restrictions will all be lifted. As of now if you visit France there are still rules in place to help prevent another largescale outbreak.
- Social Distancing – People are asked to stay at least 3 feet apart
- Masks – When using public transportation, masks are obligatory. Many small shops still ask customers to wear them and sanitize your hands upon entry, and shopping malls require you to wear a mask, although you are allowed to try on clothing.
- No Kissing – In a country where a kiss on the cheek is a normal greeting, this rule is a bit difficult for many to get used to.
- Public Gatherings – No more than 10 people are permitted to public gatherings, with the exception of funerals and protests.
- Work from Home – Those with the ability to work from home are encouraged by the government to continue doing so for the time being.
- Travel – No traveling outside the EU borders.
- Music and Sports – No large gatherings, stadiums are allowed to reopen, but no more than 5000 people can attend.