Covid: Holidays and Christmas break, what is banned and allowed in France

Published by Caroline J. · Published on 10 December 2020 at 21h23
As Christmas is just around the corner, some French are still wondering about how the Holidays will take place this year. Can we meet with our family, if so, how many guests maximum around the table? Is it possible to travel freely without a derogatory trip certificate? Can we travel abroad? Here are some leads.

This Christmas 2020 is going to be very unique. And to be honest one shall be highly cautious amid the health crisis. Emmanuel Macron stated on November 24 that the lockdown will be eased off again from December 15 only if “we made it to 5,000 infections per day and about 2,500 to 3,000 people in ICU”. This December 10, Jean Castex confirmed the lockdown exit strategy will be adapted. Therefore, many people are wondering what will be allowed and banned during the end of year’s celebrations. Trips, gatherings, travels, cultural outings… Keep reading to find out more.

Christmas Eve family dinner

Easing lockdown off from December 15 is to enable families to gather for the oh-so special Holidays. But as announced by Emmanuel Macron during his latest address, “this won’t be a Christmas break like the others”. Social distancing and health guidelines will have to be followed.

What about dinners? On November 26, Jean Castex said it will be “imperative” to “limit” the number of guests for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. On December 3, Prime Minister Castex has required a "six adults" gauge around the table. "It seems reasonable to us to limit to six adults, excluding children, during Holidays meals", he explained.

Instructions the French must comply with. According to a recent survey, 62% of them would agree with an official measure to limit gathering during the Holidays. If there were a guest-limit implemented, 77% of the French would comply with it. In the meantime, the French are considering having about 5 people around the table against an 8.5 average last year.

To avoid possible infections during Christmas meals, some people are also considering dropping bug traditional dishes for individual-sized dishes.

For the record, curfew will be exceptionally lifted on December 24 to enable families to gather. "Christmas has a special part in our lives and traditions, where are created many major memories for childrenJean Castex said. Therefore, "we then allow trips on December 24 as long as rules are followed: no more than 6 adults at the same time; limited interactions maximum in the 5 days before Christmas Eve" he added.

Yet no exemption will be made for New Year's Eve.

Traveling in France

Lockdown will be lifted from December 15. A major step allowing the French to be able to travel again, without any authorization, including from one region to the other. There will be no longer derogatory trip certificates from that day, at least during the day. From December 15, the government will implement curfew from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Certificates will be necessary to travel by night. “Starting December 15, you can travel freely from one region to the other” Prime Minister Jean Castex said during his latest press brief. Sayings confirmed once again by the head of government on December 10, as long as curfew is followed.

And what about overseas territories? Yesterday, minister delegate for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said it will be possible to go to these territories for the Holidays. Yet, for the record, a negative PCR test from within 72 hours will be required.

Traveling abroad

Once again, travels are allowed, but Jean Castex asked the French to “keep informed before considering any travel by checking the minister for Foreign Affairs’ “travel tips” in light of the health situation in the country of their destination and possible restrictions in terms of access or stay”.

Some countries have closed their boarders to French travelers such as: Canada, Australia, New-Zealand, Argentina, Finland, China, Russia, as well as Peru, Czech Republic, Hungary.
Others require a negative PCR test.

Cultural outings allowed or banned for the Holidays

After waiting for a long time, Prime Minister has had to put an end to the hopes of museums, theaters, venues and movie theaters: these cultural places will have to wait for January 7, 2021 to be allowed to reopen.

Reopen since November 28, stores are also open to allow people to go window shopping or find the perfect Christmas gift.

Yet, no lunch nor dinner at the restaurant and let alone parties. As restaurants and bars are to wait until January 20 to reopen, clubs are not set to reopen anytime soon.

Ski resorts open but ski lifts open only to professionals and underaged belonging to a club

For the Holidays, some French are used to go skiing. Even though resorts are allowed to open, ski lifts will only be open to professionals and underaged belonging to a club affiliated to the French ski Federation.

Then, the others will not be able to enjoy powder snow for the Holidays because of the too high risk of contaminations. And to dissuade the French from skiing abroad, Jean Castex said “random border controls” will be performed.

What about the Midnight Mass?

Places of worship are open for the Holidays but the government is to set the exact gauge. A 30-people gauge has been suggested by Emmanuel Macron but contested right away by the Conférence des évêques de France and rejected by the Council of State. On December 3, Jean Castex announced the implementation of a new gauge: "From tomorrow (Thursday December 4 - Editor's Note), places of worship will be able to receive the faithful with the one-seat-in-three and one-row-in-two rule".

Practical information

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