CÔTE D'AZUR & PROVENCE
Today is the day! Phase 2 of our de-confinement begins today, 2 June with further relaxing of travel restrictions and restaurant closures. Across France, restaurants, cafés and bars are reopening, although under strict health and safety requirements. Here, we give an overview of what’s open, where we can travel and what we need to know to stay safe.
The idea of being able to call a friend to meet up for an apéro still seems like a vague dream, but as of today, it is finally possible! And so many business owners are now able to breathe a sigh of relief at the thought getting back to work. Many locales will be opening on 2 June (see our Instagram story for a bunch of places) but not everyone. There are safety measures to meet, including table spacing, getting all staff to learn the rules and get masks and disinfection procedures. Many places have announced their opening for this Friday, 5 June or even around the 22nd. If there is a place you are dying to get back to, check their social media pages for their opening announcement.
The reopening on 2 June applies to areas in the ‘green zone’, which at this point is most of France, with the exception of Paris, whose hospitals are still at high capacity. But the best news to come in today is that France had no deaths over the weekend, and most hospital capacity is at early March levels. During his speech last Thursday, PM Edouard Philippe expressed the positive situation:
“We are where we had hoped we’d be by the end of May – in fact, we’re doing better than we hoped. So, it’s very good news.” He thanked all the teams working hard to save people and for the public’s compliance and civil obedience to make this possible, but reminding the public that the virus is still circulating in France and to “continue to respect distance!”
His overall message was of reinstating freedom, albeit with limits: “Liberty will be the rule and restriction the exception” His translated speech can be seen here. So what are our ‘freedoms with restrictions’?
LIFE RESUMES WITH PRECAUTION
All established hygiene precautions are to remain in place, including hand gel in public spaces and masks in all shops, markets and transportation.
- Continue to follow the recommended hygiene rules of regularly washing hands, sneezing into your elbow, avoiding touching your face (especially your eyes and mouth), maintaining 1-metre of distance with other people and avoiding handshakes and bisous greetings.
- Groups are limited to 10 people max in restaurants and public spaces.
- Workers are still encouraged to maintain work from home when possible
- Meetings in closed spaces should be avoided.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
All eateries in France are allowed to reopen with the caveat that ‘orange zone’ locales can only open outdoor terrace seating. The following restrictions apply:
- 1 metre between tables
- Masks required for all staff and servers and customers walking through the premises
- Small groups are permitted, up to 10 people
- Bars cannot allow standing drinks (too difficult to maintain distancing) but can allow consumption at tables
The 100 Km limit has been lifted and people can travel freely across France. EU borders are set to reopen on 15 June without a quarantine. If you need to make international travel before that date, you will need to provide a declaration for the reason to travel accompanied by a sworn statement of not suffering any symptoms of the virus.
A 14-day quarantine is not required within Europe. The UK has imposed a mandatory quarantine for travellers from France from 8 June, and France has responded with a ‘requested’ quarantine from those arriving from the UK.
Extra-European travel is still under review. The decision is expected on 15 June.
Holiday properties, villages and campsites are now allowed to reopen.
Flights to/from the Nice airport have resumed, with a daily limit of traffic. The following flights are now operating but will increase quickly as other countries lift their restrictions.
All schools including collèges are now open – lycées only in the green zone. All families are welcome to send their children to school; however, it is not required. If you have any health reasons to prevent your child from attending school, that is allowed.
Swimming pools, gyms, fitness centres may reopen with conditions (in the orange zones only from 22 June). However, contact sports remain prohibited. Public sporting events remain prohibited throughout France until at least 21 June.
PHASE 3 COMING...
The final phase is set for 22 June, based on the results of phase 2. This will see the reopening of the final establishments, including cinemas, theatres and event spaces, although there will surely be strict distancing requirements.
While our numbers are 'good' and things are opening up, it's important to remember that the virus hasn't disappeared - it's just under control. Here are the statistics for France as of 31 May, from the government:
- On 31 May, SOS médecins performed 282 interventions for suspicion of COVID-19, i.e. 3% of the total activity.
- Emergency services noted 311 visits for the same reason, i.e. 1% of total activity.
- 14,288 people were hospitalised for COVID-19 infection (vs 16,798 a week ago on 25/05) and 89 new admissions were recorded in 24 hours (vs 342 on 25/05).
- 1,302 patients with a severe form of COVID-19 are hospitalised in intensive care (vs 1,609 on 25/05).
- 9 new severe cases were admitted to intensive care (vs 45 on 25/05).
- The balance remains negative in intensive care, with 17 fewer COVID-19 patients compared to 30 May.
- 4 regions (Ile de France, Grand-Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Hauts-de-France) account for 73% of patients admitted to intensive care.
More information is available: https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/