Coronavirus COVID-19: the situation in France

Consult French government recommendations on the travel and health measures in place.

For recommendations updated in real time concerning measures taken on French territory, consult the Government / Coronavirus Info site. (External link)

Health measures in France

France went into national lockdown on October 30. On November 24, the President announced that emerging from lockdown would take place in three stages.

November 28: Easing of lockdown

  • Travel certificates are still required for urgent trips, with remote working maintained where possible
  • Walks and other forms of exercise are permitted within a 20km radius, for a maximum of three hours
  • Extra-curricular outdoor activities are permitted
  • Non-essential retail can reopen (including bookshops, music shops and even art galleries) and home services can resume, until 9pm, as long as they comply with health protocol. This means allowing eight square metres per customer and a staggered entry system for shops over 400m²

December 15: End of lockdown, subject to health conditions (under 5,000 new cases per day)

  • Travel certificates no longer required, and travel permitted between regions
  • Travel to overseas territories permitted from mainland France subject to a with negative test less than 72 hours in advance
  • A curfew in place from 9pm to 7am, with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve
  • Cinemas and theatres can reopen (a curfew allowance will allow spectators to return home after 9pm, with their ticket as proof)
  • Museums can reopen
  • Extra-curricular indoor activities can be resumed
  • Gatherings on public roads will remain prohibited

January 20: New openings, subject to health conditions

  • Sports halls and restaurants can reopen
  • Face-to-face classes at high schools can resume, with the same at universities 15 days later, subject to health conditions.

Travel therefore remains prohibited at least until December 15, except in the following cases and upon certification only:

  • To go to a place of work;
  • To exercise outdoors;
  • To take children to school;
  • To attend a public service;
  • To shop for basic necessities;
  • For medical reasons;
  • For compelling family reasons (e.g. providing assistance to a loved one);
  • Upon judicial or administrative summons.

A fine of €135 will be applied in the case of non-compliance with the rules.

Link to certificate (External link) (available on the government website)

Further details on the phases of emergence from lockdown are updated in real time here (External link) .


Currently open:

  • Public service counters and banks;
  • All essential and non-essential shops;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Parks, gardens, forests and beaches;
  • Public transport, whose normal level of service is maintained;
  • Hotels, for essential business trips only (with restaurants closed, only room service is permitted)
  • Takeaway and restaurant delivery services.

Additionally open from December 15 (subject to health conditions):

  • Cinemas, theatres and museums

Additionally open from January 20 (subject to health conditions):

  • Restaurants, bars and other public hospitality establishments
  • Sports halls and gymnasiums.

Other measures and restrictions

Wearing a mask is compulsory for anyone aged 11 and over, in enclosed public places throughout the country.

The obligation to wear a mask may be extended to places deemed relevant by the prefects of each department depending on the local epidemic situation. Detailed information is available from the prefecture (External link) . The map and updated data on the spread of Covid-19 in France are available on the government website (External link) .

A fine of €135 will be applied in the event of non-compliance with wearing a mask in the places concerned. In the event of a repeat offense within 15 days, the fine will increase to €1,500.

• Wearing a mask is compulsory in public transport. Riders should ensure that the greatest possible distance is maintained between passengers or groups of passengers not traveling together. See more through the SNCF (External link) and RATP (External link) websites

• Wearing a mask is compulsory in taxis and rideshares

Frequently asked questions about Covid-19 on the government website (External link)

Overseas territories and departments

The general measures applied in mainland France also apply in Martinique. Specific adaptations are planned for the other overseas departments and territories less affected by the pandemic. Tests are required on arrival and departure from these territories to avoid any risk of the virus spreading.

International travel

The internal borders to the European area remain open yet the external borders are closed. French nationals currently abroad are, of course, free to return to French territory.

A negative Covid result of less than 72 hours is mandatory to enter the territory. In addition, in ports and airports rapid tests will be deployed for all arrivals.

Additional information on health checks at the borders according to origin can be found here (External link) .

Consult the websites of the prefectures or local authorities for more details.

Find out more: visit the website of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (External link) .

What are the preventative actions to take to limit the spread of the virus?

There are simple actions to protect your health and the health of those around you:

  • Wash your hands very regularly;
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow;
  • Use disposable tissues and throw them away;
  • Greet others without shaking hands and avoid hugs;
  • Wear a mask if you feel ill;
  • Wear a mask in enclosed public places, on public transport, in taxis and rideshares, in shops, and in any other places deemed necessary by the prefects of each department depending on the local health situation.