France’s Lockdown Light: What Are the New Rules From April 3rd?

France’s Lockdown Light: What Are the New Rules From April 3rd?

French President Emmanuel Macron’s anxiously awaited speech last night did not deliver news of a third full lockdown as many projected. Instead, he laid out the rules of a four-week ‘lockdown light’ that comes into effect across the entire country this weekend. So, what are the new rules for life in France?

‘Lockdown Light’: Here’s What You Can and Can’t Do

From the evening of Saturday, April 3rd, the lockdown light measures that had previously been in place in 19 French départements will now be in place across all of mainland France.

The most important changes are as follows:

  • All non-essential shops will be closed. ‘Essential’ shops include all those allowed to remain open during the second lockdown back in November, as well as hairdressers, bookshops, and music stores.
  • The nationwide curfew (couvre-feu) remains in place from 7pm to 6am.
  • Attestations will be needed for any trip of more than 10km from home during the non-curfew hours of 6am to 7pm.

Penalties apply for those breaking the rules, starting with a €135 fine and increasing to €3,750 and possible jail time for repeat offences.

When Do I Need An Attestation?

Different rules apply for trips outside your home during the daytime or evening. You can find the attestation forms here. Note that there are now different attestations available for each time period, along with attestations for work and school.

From 6am to 7pm:

  • You do not need an attestation for trips within 10km of your home. This means you can leave your home for any reason as long as you don’t go further than 10km. You must, however, carry your ID and proof of address with you at all times.
  • You cannot go more than 10km from home to exercise or walk your dog, even with an attestation.
  • You do need an attestation for all trips greater than 10km from your house, and trips must meet one of the following reasons:

Only within your département (or within 30km if you live close to a département border)

  • Shopping for basic necessities or to pick up ordered goods
  • Accompanying children to school or out-of-school activities
  • Visiting a cultural establishment or place of worship

Outside your département (no limit on distance)

  • Attending work, education, and training
  • Attending health consultations, treatments, and procedures
  • Caring for an elderly or vulnerable family member, childcare, and travel for people with disabilities and their carers
  • Moving home or travel related to purchasing or renting a property that cannot be postponed
  • Travelling to a station or airport
  • Attending administrative or legal proceedings

The full list of reasons can be found on the attestation forms (link above).

School Closures for Three Weeks

The Easter holidays were already on the horizon for schools in different regions of France, but new measures mean that all schools across France will now close from Monday, April 5th.

Schools will remain closed for three weeks, including one week of distance learning from April 5th and a two-week Easter holiday from April 12th. This applies to all infant (maternelle), primary (primaire), secondary (college) and high schools (lycée).

Infant (maternelle) and primary (primaire) schools will reopen on April 26th. Secondary (college) and high schools (lycée) will continue with distance learning, with a return to school proposed for May 3rd.

Travelling Around France

Travel outside your region is no longer permitted except for the exemptions listed above. An exception has been made for Easter weekend (April 3rd-4th) to allow people to relocate to a second residence for the duration of the lockdown light.

Recent changes to travel between the UK and France remain unchanged, and travelling to an airport or train station is one of the reasons for travel listed on the attestations.

How Long is the Lockdown Light?

The timeline for these new restrictions has been set at four weeks, with a proposed end date of May 2nd. This will, of course, depend upon France achieving its goals of reducing infection rates and easing pressure on hospitals. As with all previous lockdowns and restrictions, this date remains subject to change and may be extended.

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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