This Thursday May 28, Edouard Philippe presented the measures as for phase 2 of the containment exit plan. "Each one of us can start booking vacations. We will announce new rules this week" the Minister for Ecologic Transition said on Questions Politiques on France Inter in partnership with Le Monde and France Télévisions. "From now on, you can book holidays for July and August. As for June, we will give details this week" Elisabeth Borne added.
And to go on that we must "organize vacations in France" rather than abroad: "borders with the countries outside the Schengen area are highly monitored. We do not invite French to consider vacations abroad" she said when explaining, about Spain, that she was not recommending "French to book vacations in Spain today".
Despite this warning, Edouard Philippe said that borders within Europe will reopen on June 15, 2020. "Trips within Europe are possible from mid-June if the health situation allows it, without self-isolation for travelers coming from European countries".
The reopening of EU borders with non-EU countries will be decided jointly with European countries in June. The decision will be coordinated and the decision of countries wishing to keep their borders closed respected.
The government keeps on encouraging French people to stay in France for the summer holidays. Families are invited to book places for children in holiday camps and outdoor camps. The gradual reopening of restaurants, swimming pools, and hotels and many other places are expected to encourage the future holidaygoers to make new plans for the summer.
Summer holiday, an organization puzzle
This Thursday May 14th, 2020 Prime Minister Edouard Philippe guaranteed French will be able to go on summer vacations everywhere in France and French overseas territories if the health situation allowed it. Bookings will be fully reimbursed in the hypothesis vacations have to be cancelled. This Tuesday May 19, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari confirmed French will be able to travel everywhere across France incliding overseas territories if the epidemiologic situation allows it.
For the least comfortable homes, the government wishes to set up a social tourism scheme. “We will ensure that all those who have lived in the hardest conditions throughout confinement can enjoy an easier access to deals, trips, social tourism operations” Edouard Philippe said. The modalities to enjoy this scheme will be communicated in the upcoming weeks.
Campsites and collective accommodations… Plan already thought up
Very coveted by French, campsites are an issue from the perspective of lifting confinement, as they generally mix a lot of people. This is what, in late April, professionals of the sector met to present a “camping plan” proposing several measures to make sure safety instructions are upheld, such as limiting the number of children in playgrounds, social distancing to access lavatories and fewer services to decrease contamination risks. Facemasks are also part of the propositions given to the authorities.
“Camping plan” that revolves in three steps, as Fédération nationale de l'hôtellerie de plein air [outdoor hotel trade national federation] president Nicolas Dayot explained to our peers at BFMTV: “The first phase, starting from mid-May, would allow minimum and rather restrictive reopening. No entertainment, restaurant or access to the swimming pools and a limited number of campers” he explains. He adds: “The second phase, we wish for mid-June, that would play a go-between, would enable to open outdoor swimming pool, but still no entertainments. Last but not least, a third phase, all services will be provided, but great care given to health precautions”.
He also tells BFMTV that campsites must reopen soon to “convey a strong signal […]. These are big spaces, outside, providing individual and independent premises absolutely compatible with social distancing. As for bathrooms, we already have cleaning protocols we will reinforce” Nicolas Dayot explains.
What about hotels and rentals?
Moving on to hotels, they are thinking about exiting the crisis through a charter, currently in progress, to make sure clients are safe and healthy. A charter that already gives a few leads such as time off between each booking to make sure all rooms are spotlessly disinfected. “All surfaces, remotes and door handles are disinfected after the client has left” Union des métiers et des industries de l'hôtellerie [Hotel trade jobs and industrials union] hotel trade branch president Laurent Duc explains on BFMTV. He goes on: “And cleaning the day after in order that dirty laundry is not in contact with clean sheets and towels”.
Everything that is not useful in the bedroom, and that could carry the virus, such as pillows and other draperies will be removed. Lined pillowcases and bedsheets will be covered with a “washable” fabric. Hand sanitizer will also be available in every room. Room service will be favored with fully hermetic meal trays.
As for rentals, they are banned so far, but could copy hotels as for health measures, but it will be difficult to control protocols. Leads that will be studied by the government anyway, so that they can reopen this summer. And answers are expected in May or early June.
Trains, planes… The transport sector in a blur
Another difficulty adds up to the current crisis, naming if we are allowed to go on vacations in France, will we be able to take a train or plane? Moving on to the transport sector, it is still in a blur…
As for trains, SNCF new CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou said on RTL that he hoped “100% of the TGV trains [will work] by early summer” which seems auspicious for vacation goers who wanted to go by train. Yet, as for the air sector, that is another kettle of fish, as Protourisme office manager Didier Arino told our peers at CNEWS: “There will be very little airplanes this summer. Airlines plan 50% of their capacity in comparison with before, and this in five months’ time” he said.