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With the exception of bars, cafés and restaurants, theatres and cinemas, all French businesses – including shops, and therefore estate agencies – will be free to re-open as of May 11.

This is excellent news not only for immobiliers, but also for their clients whose plans to buy, sell or rent have been on hold for more than six weeks.

Furthermore the entire property chain (including notaries, banks and removals firms) would then be free to resume service.

However, they will need to comply with very strict operational guidelines, such as organising the flow of people (both customers and staff) and implementing staggered working hours and shifts. They will also need to ensure, “when their means allow”, that they equip employees with protective masks. Some shopkeepers can also “make access to their establishments subject to the wearing of a mask”, should they so wish.

However, any resident in France seeking a property search more than 100km from their home will be hamstrung: Mr Philippe said that while people can travel again without an attestation, travel more than 100km from home will remain prohibited, “except for compelling family or professional reasons”.

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