LATEST: Where to wear a face mask in France

French President Emmanuel Macron adjusts his face mask. France has announced an expansion of mask wearing rules due to come into force towards the end of the week.
French President Emmanuel Macron adjusts his face mask. France has announced an expansion of mask wearing rules due to come into force towards the end of the week. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
France has reintroduced strict mask wearing rules in France in a bid to tackle a fifth wave of Covid-19. Indoor and outdoor markets now require visitors to wear masks.

National rules

The nationwide rule on masks is that they must be worn on all public transport and all indoor public spaces.

From Friday, November 26th, this also includes indoor venues where visitors must show a health pass to enter, like bars, restaurants, leisure centres and cinemas. 

For venues like bars and restaurants the previous mask rules have been reinstated – a mask is required while moving through a venue but not when seated and eating or drinking. 

French mask rules have no exemptions and not wearing a mask when required to do so can net you a €135 fine.

Markets

All visitors to markets in France, both indoors and outdoors, will have to wear masks as per a ruling from the Economy Ministry on December 1st. This rule applies to anyone over 11-years-old. Before now, local prefectures have had the freedom to impose mask-wearing at their will in markets.

Christmas markets – which now require presentation of a valid health pass as a condition of entry – will have to impose mask wearing rules too.  

READ ALSO 11 Christmas markets to visit in France this winter

Ski resorts

If you are in a French ski resort you are required to wear a mask while in the queue for a ski lift and in the enclosed télécabine lifts, but not on open chair lifts.

Masks are not required on the slopes.

A ski mask is accepted provided it entirely covers your nose and mouth.

Schools 

All primary school pupils and teachers returned to wearing masks in class on November 15th, after the rule had been lifted in some areas with low case numbers. Mask rules have been in place for secondary and high schools since 2020.

Local rules

In addition to the national rules, local préfectures may also impose extra requirements, including the reintroduction of wearing masks in the street. 

Over the summer, few took up this opportunity, but as cases have risen in recent weeks several areas have brought in stricter localised rules on masks – including Paris.

The decision is up to local authorities and there is no case number threshold at which these rules are introduced. Some areas with low case numbers have extra mask rules while other places with high case numbers don’t.

The advice to anyone is to check with the local préfecture on the exact rules in place in your area.

The following départements have brought in rules on outdoor mask-wearing, although some of the rules only cover certain towns or areas with high Covid rates.

The following list, compiled from local and national media, is unlikely to include all areas.

Alpes-Maritime, Ardennes, Ariège, Bouches-du-Rhone, Nord, Marne, Meuthe-et-Moselle, Eure, Sarthe, Loir-et-Cher, Cher, Côtes d’Armor, Morbihan, Loire-Atlantique, Vendée, Haute-Vienne, Loire, Isère, Tarn-et-Garonne, Hérault, Pyrenées-Orientales, Haut-Rhin, Paris and Var.


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